Technologies, helping relationships and shared responsibility – part 1

To understand how to help the elderly you are assisting you first need to know what his/her needs are and his/her abilities. It is important to know the elderly person and his/her family to understand how to support him/her also using ICTS. An educational approach open to the context and the use of technological tools can improve the organisation of the careworker, meet the needs of the elderly person and enhance his/her autonomy and keep the dialogue between carer and the family open.

The first question to understand the better way is: what can the elderly person do by himself/herself? What assistance does he/she instead need?

Careworkers can get the information by talking to him/her and his/her family, so they can:

  • Analyse the situation – speaking to the elderly person and his/her family;
  •  Identify the needs and resources of the elderly person - learning how to use a checklist (with the resources, priorities, daily needs), focusing on where the elderly person is independent and where he/she needs help;
  • Develop an action plan with the use of ICTS - based on a completed analysis and integrating it with their daily presence.

For the careworker it is relevant to understand if the elderly person has good or limited autonomy in order to:

  • Encourage active aging: supporting the ability the elderly person has at a psycho-physical and relational level means helping him/her maintain his/her autonomy and to mingle with other people (inside and outside the home, online and in everyday life).
  • Fostering an assisted living environment: enabling elderly people with low autonomy to live independently and to actively participate in society.

So, what does encouraging active aging mean?

It means looking after the physical, social and mental health of the elderly person, allowing him/her to have a social life according to his/her needs, desires and abilities

How can an assisted living environment be encouraged?

It means knowing, using and being helped by new technologies to stay close to other people and the outside environment even if you are not able to move from your home.