Society for Psychological Assistance (SPA)
The Foundation Zajednički put
The connection of partner organisations came about due to professional compatibility and possibility for a good complementarity between the applicants and partners in relation to the aim of project.
While active aging has been promoted in recent years, at this time of the pandemic, senior citizens received instructions on how to behave, which were not fully in line with that concept. So, we are trying to reconcile the two, i.e., to teach senior citizens how to be active in post-pandemic times. Volunteers will teach them how to use on-line platforms. Also, guidelines on the treatment towards older people during the post-pandemic will be developed with the aim of reducing ageism.
City of Zagreb and rural places from Zagreb County.
The social challenges this project is based on are social exclusion of older people in rural and smaller communities, as well as provision of conditions for their equal participation in the society. Older people from rural area face problems of loneliness, lack of social contacts, isolation and exposure to ageism, all intensified with the onset of the pandemic. Showing older people how to use modern technologies contributes to their active inclusion in modern society and thus enables them equal participation in society. Also, it increases social cohesion while fighting ageism.
The concept of active aging also includes equal participation of older people in all available civic and democratic processes. IT literacy is necessary for active participation in democratic processes, which the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us clearly. Through IT literacy of the elderly, we increase their social inclusion, and consequently their active participation in civil society activities through online activities in pandemic and post-pandemic conditions. On the other hand, by training experts from social and health institutions, we continue to raise awareness for the needs of older people, which will enable them to participate more actively in modern democratic and civic processes.
For older people living in rural areas, whose human rights are violated by discriminatory attitudes and procedures to which they are exposed, and due to insufficient IT knowledge and skills they cannot actively counter discrimination and marginalisation. This, in turn, affects their faith in their own abilities and their indulgence in acquiring new knowledge and skills. We are trying to move away from discriminatory attitudes and provide an opportunity for senior citizens to adopt IT skills that will help them get involved and participate equally in the society, in the changed and changing circumstances of the pandemic. The acquired skills will also help them in active aging activities, which opposes the view of those who think that older people are passive and disinterested citizens.
At the beginning, we plan to gather detailed information from older people and professionals working with them, on their specific needs in the field of modern technologies. According to these results, we will develop a program for active online aging, which will be in line with previous experience in implementing such a program. Volunteers who will implement the program – students of supporting professions will be trained in the field of working with older people and implementing the program. Also,during the project, guidelines for communication with the elderly will be developed for professional staff from the social welfare and healthcare systems with the aim of preventing ageism. Finally, we will evaluate the entire program in order to measure its success and prepare it for further use.
We expect that the senior group will be empowered in the area of IT literacy. This will consequently mean that their available channels for communication with their families and friends living elsewhere will increase, that they will know where and how to seek information they need for their daily functioning, as well as that they will have access to a wider range of hobbies in order to be able to indulge in their legally guaranteed rights. In addition, as a product of this project, a program for IT literacy of the elderly will be created. In conclusion, 10 volunteers will have the opportunity to improve their skills through the project, around 50 older people will gain IT knowledge and skills, and 500 experts will be further trained on the specifics of communication with the elderly.
This project will contribute to older citizens becoming more active participants in democratic processes. At the time of the pandemic, where there is more and more talk of correspondence and electronic voting, it is important that older people remain active in democratic decision-making processes both on the level of political elections and local actions. By sensitising professionals who are in direct contact with the elderly and improving older people’s IT literacy, we are directly working on the prevention of the exclusion of older people from democratic processes. We will equally contribute to general media literacy and thus directly influence the active and informed participation of citizens in democratic processes, regardless of age.
When talking about the elderly, we are actually talking about a socially marginalised group which is mostly seen as a social burden. What is forgotten is the capital that this age group has. From their knowledge and skills of that they can teach us, through their experiences from which we can learn for life, to practical things they give us that we should be grateful for. Furthermore, the number of older people in the population is increasing and we cannot pretend that they are not a visible group. In addition to being neglected on the social and political level, we often witness violation of their human rights in public. As experts for the psychosocial needs of people, we feel both a professional and an ethical obligation to react within our scope of activities.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
salaries SPA 22,000.00EUR
partner’s expenses 15,000.00 EUR
external associates 3,000.00 EUR
travel expenses 2,500.00 EUR
office expenses 2,000.00EUR
public relations 1,000.00 EUR
graphic processing and print of materials 3,000.00 EUR
IT equipment for users 1,500.00 EUR
Suggestions for improving the idea, comments, and feedback are welcome.