Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?
Health literacy and patient empowerment, Prevention and early diagnosis of functional and cognitive decline, Assisted daily living, Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering), Age friendly buildings, environments, and communities.
If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.
The professionals in the Health Care Sector frequently find that it is these higher complexity issues facing elderly people that causes the most amount of silent suffering. The extensive research and analysis undertaken has defined that loneliness is one of the most devastating 'symptoms' of senior living that can often spiral down into severe mental health problems. Loneliness transitions from being an emotional state to a way of living and the hardship of life is why the Department of Health urgently seeks to half the number of silent suffers by 2015 and instead boost living standards by means of health promotion.
However the solution emerged when a citizen, Ole Kassow, took initiative by testing an alternative idea with his elderly neighbours at the local nursing home. The success sparked an equally balanced collaboration between Mr Kassow and the City of Copenhagen's Department of Health. This civil service - public sector collaboration soon blossomed being the first of its kind. The further development of the solution has involved responding to the voices of the key stakeholders such as relatives, nursing home staff, volunteers and of course, the elderly residents.
Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.
Ole Kassow initially tested out his idea in his local borough of Copenhagen by turning up unannounced to one of the nursing homes with a rented rickshaw bicycle to offer city tours to willing residents. From this initiative there soon followed an immediate and high demand for future tours.
His willingness to interact and his active engagement to each individual and allowing them to take charge in direction soon caught the attention of the City's Department of Health and Care. When he asked for funding of a single rickshaw to be bought and placed in a nursing home, they allocated funding for five. This innovative idea was received incredibly well and soon there was a need for its implementation on a larger scale.
A nursing home far from the capital, in Hjørring, adapted the scheme to their local settings by resourcing enthusiastic volunteers who were undergoing the hardship of unemployment. These volunteers benefitted immensely and this example testifies the flexibility and the true potential that this simple model holds.
Due to the overall success and media attention there is a high demand for rickshaw bicycle schemes to be met in many of care homes in Copenhagen.
What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?
Initially whilst starting up there were many concerns expressed by As the initiative is new and unconventional there was anxiety and reservations amongst staff surrounding patient responsibility. Some relatives shared these concerns particularly regarding safety. Some residents who had not ventured out in public for a while had mild reservations towards meeting and trusting someone new. Our strategy is to highlight the benefits and previous experiences of other residents and to strongly communicate what is in place to prevent any of these fears coming to light. We aim to achieve this through dialogue, using examples, stories, photos and videos from the tours. Our aim is now to display clear information in brochure and website formats.
We anticipate further barriers when spreading CWA internationally mainly regarding the accessibility. In order for the tours to be successful, access to sufficient cycling infrastructure or terrain is essential. CWA aims to publish a free online 'Cookbook' offering guidance to adapting cities. CWA also has strong links with Copenhagenize, a cycling infrastructure consultancy agency that aids cities around the world in becoming more bike friendly.