It is a fact that people live longer than they did only few decades ago and that the share of elderly people of the population in Europe is growing. In order for our societies to avoid that this circumstance becomes a threat to the stability of their economics and in order for the elder part of the population to maintain a happy and meaningful life, it is necessary to take measures. The TECHSenior project was exactly one of these measures.
With a strong and dynamic partnership consisting of eight partners from Denmark, UK, Spain and Greece and in addition an EU-wide professional association based in Brussels, the project was successfully implemented in the period from November 2016 to November 2018. The partners were two VET institutions - one public and one private (SOSU, Denmark and CDEA, Spain) a local authority (Aarhus Municipality, Denmark), a SME, working in the field of specialized architecture and society (ERROTA), a charity (Age UK) a private company in the field of research and consultancy (p-consulting) and a social cooperative of limited liability (Kispe FAROS, Spain). Besides EfVET, the European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
The project has met its main objective, which was to develop a training program in the form of blended learning that makes old people able to live a more active life by using technology. Active living and active ageing creates wellbeing in everyday life; it supports rehabilitation and gives autonomy. IT has the potential to enable older people to engage actively in all aspects of community life and stay independent longer. The program we have developed and tested, enables the end-users, the elderly, to live a more autonomous life. It supports them in making use of the opportunities offered by technology, for instance ordering food and other goods online, having access to many government services, which are moving online, home banking, using tele-medicine and tele-assistance, communicating with friends or their family via e-mail, skype and social networks.
In order to ensure the relevance of the program, the end-user were involved as co-developers and our work was based research – carried out in the beginning of the project period - into already existing training in the field, and interviews and focus groups with representatives of the target groups and external stakeholders in all the participating countries.
The target groups of the TECHSenior program are trainers and teachers of care workers, care workers giving care to elderly, volunteers and the old people themselves. The sustainability of the program in ensured as it will be used in VET education and training, by volunteers, and in adult lifelong learning. The program is easily accessible through the project website and it is adapted to the actual needs of elderly in each of the participating partner countries. It will be accessible for at least the next 5 years on https://techsenior.eu/
As we realized that fear of new technology is an obstacle for many elderly for them to make use of IT, the partnership also developed a small booklet for elderly about internet security “Staying Safe Online” which can also be found on https://techsenior.eu/ in all English, Spanish, Greek and Danish languages.