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Neighbourhood Supporters for the elderly

Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Published by Herma Otter
STADT VECHTA (DE): The idea behind the “Neighbourhood support volunteers” project is to provide organized local assistance to prevent elderly people feeling lonely and being dependent on others. The “selbstgestALTER” project group will train the volunteers in cooperation with Vechta City Council as part of North Sea Region’s project “Like! - Building a local digital innovation culture”.

Neighbourhood support volunteers are being trained to offer assistance and advice for local senior citizens. To be able to do so effectively, they are to receive training in six different areas. The first course dealt with elderly housing issues. The second course will look at mobility, recreational activities and voluntary work; the third will be about welfare services and communication.

When they’ve completed their training, the volunteers will support elderly citizens in their neighbourhood facing questions such as “How can I stay living at home for as long as possible?”, “What alternative options make sense?”, “Where can I find information about recreational activities?”, “How can I get from A to B in the city without a car?” and “When does it make sense to do road safety training?”

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Since senior citizens can find a lot of the information and help they require online themselves, using any device, one of the topics to be covered during the training is digitisation. Vechta City Council’s aim is to raise these citizens’ awareness of digital information sources in order to boost their independence.

The idea for the training evolved during a co-creation project with elderly people who live in and around the Lattweg neighbourhood in Vechta. One of the points that came out of the meetings was that they would like access in their immediate neighbourhood to people they can turn to for help and low-level support services so that they can continue to live in their accustomed environment for as long as possible.

For more information (in German): website Vechta