Project budget7 234 220 €
ERDF amount4 340 532 €
The 2 Seas area is facing a common problem - rising demand for health and social care services by our growing older population - creating a pressing need to find new approaches. In 2013 the over 65s made up 18.2% of the European population; 19.4% in France, 18.6% in Belgium, 18.7% in the Netherlands and 18.2 % in the UK. These figures are set to rise to a staggering 28.7% on average by 2080. With the cost of care for older people increasing it is necessary to integrate these groups more closely with their communities, keeping them healthier and in their own homes safely for longer. The challenge facing the 2 Seas area is that we will run out of resources if we don’t change the ways citizens are involved in their own health and wellbeing. Traditional services are already at capacity and the present system pushes people to the default point of safety (hospital).
In order to create resilient communities and reduce individual frailty and loneliness, EMPOWERCARE will develop a holistic community asset approach using research-based solutions to respond to current gaps in the care of people in the target group (those ages 65+ and those aged 50+ with at least one chronic condition). EMPOWERCARE will address the issues facing our societies concerning the care of our ageing population; older people are not being involved in decisions concerning their own health and wellbeing. In combining the work of a number of existing and tested partner solutions from across the 2 Seas area the project will ensure that older people are at the forefront of improved technology and better care for within their communities. This will not only improve their situation but also tackle the financial issues of an ageing population and improve social cohesion, and implement a community of practice dedicated to the problem at hand.
EMPOWERCARE will take a holistic approach, with 3 areas of activity: Empowerment, Technology Strategies & Workforce Development resources. These will contribute to a person-centred approach to care and technology knowledge transfer whilst reducing isolation/loneliness and increasing solidarity amongst older people. Community Asset Based Development approaches will get to the heart of what matters most to local communities by harnessing skills and expertise of local people, co-creating innovations that make a real difference to lives, health and wellbeing. The project will oppose a medical deficit model and instead focus on empowering people to take more responsibility for their care using technology and local services to keep them in work, healthy and motivated, having control over decisions that affect their health and wellbeing. Learning networks will enhance shared learning amongst professionals and families to ensure durability and transferability.
Cross border approach
A cross-border approach allows different but compatible approaches, bringing them together to provide stronger cocreation. The countries in the 2 Seas area are at different stages of a comparable journey, together we can understand more of the journey, and the different routes we have taken/could take in the future. Each part of the 2 Seas area has one or more established concepts from which others can learn. The problem of an ageing population and ensuring the wellbeing of older people via a financially and socially sustainable model is prominent in all four countries. Cross-border learning will allow partners to combine their expertise in different areas to ensure a holistic approach. EMPOWERCARE combines partners with expertise in: health technology, social cohesion solutions, and integrated workforce approaches, and local organisations with appropriate access to the target population
The project launched at the end of January 2020, one of the last in-person meetings most partners engaged in. As a result of only meeting in person once, the partnership has not gelled in the way that would normally be hoped and expected - the commitment is, however, present, just not the lighter-touch mutual understanding normally shared by the end of the first year. All PPs, and notably the WP Leads, made significant efforts to keep activity on track, and online meetings were successful in many respects.
Virtual site visits were well organised and fruitful - yes, lacking in the "hands-on" opportunities anticipated, but nonetheless providing good demonstrations of existing models, technology and other work. Information was gathered, assets mapped, and communication with stakeholders and a wider audience undertaken. Some partners were able, at times during the year, to conduct community meetings in pilot sites, accessing different local cultures even within the same countries/areas. Where some PPs had no previous experience with relevant technology, they spent time learning, and in some cases, engaged subcontractors to help.
Partners have reported positive experiences in related collaboration, too, where they have been able to engage, for example, between delivery and academic partners to reach larger sections of target groups - something that is of benefit to EMPOWERCARE, but also more widely. Evaluation has started strongly, with engagement between the leads and the delivery partners via virtual means.