- Name of the project: HASIC – Healthy Ageing Supported by Internet and the Community
- Duration: 1.1.2014–30.6.2016
- Co-financier: EU Health Programme
- Budget: approximately 1 M €
The general objective of the HASIC project is to empower older people (65+) in Europe to adopt healthy lifestyles which include a healthy diet, physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and social participation. Together with supporting older people on an individual level, HASIC aims to develop the quality and cost-effective-ness of services for older people by promoting cooperation between regional service providers and by producing policy recommendations on communal elderly services.
While the aims of preventative health care and active ageing are widely recognized, there is still a lack of knowledge and skills how to efficiently prevent health problems and exclusion of older people considering the wholeness of a person. HASIC answers to this challenge by developing tools for supporting healthy lifestyles and active citizenship of older people.
It is proven that supporting empowerment and self-management helps people to learn to control the risks of their health and to maintain their healthy lifestyles. In addition, right knowledge and support of a peer group help older people to maintain healthy life and to prevent exclusion. In the HASIC project the empowerment and self-management of older people are supported by developing and piloting peer group activities and mentoring and an online platform, which are planned especially according to the needs of this age group.
Means for reaching project’s objectives include various actions.
- In the HASIC education, professionals and mentors update their knowledge and skills on how to recognize risks and how to support the empowerment and self-management of older people.
- In peer groups participants get possibilities to share and reflect their experiences, discuss health risks and challenges, listen, encourage and learn from each other. As group leaders, peer groups mentors have a special position. They share the benefits mentioned above but get also meaningful and rewarding tasks to their daily routines.
- Through the online platform developed in HASIC, older people will get virtual support to the processes of empowerment and behavior change towards a healthier lifestyle. Tools for self-assessment and self-monitoring of different health behaviors and a structured behavioral change program will be offered to the target group.
- Regional cooperation between different health and social services providers will be promoted by organising workshops, in which various stakeholders are facilitated to give their input to the development of project and promote policy recommendations for organizing and coordinating preventative services and activities for older people on regional level.
The most important target group of the HASIC project is older people who are in risk of exclusion and health loss because of their unhealthy lifestyles. The main health risks of these people are unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, depression, lack of social participation and alcohol abuse. This target group is reached with the help of collaborating partners and other associations of older people and municipal and regional actors working with this age-group.
The second target group is current and future social and health care professionals, who are interested in getting knowledge and skills to prevent older people’s health risks and to support their empowerment and self-management. Professionals are reached from collaborating partner organizations and other associations working with older people and from partner educational institutes.
The third target group is voluntary peer group mentors, who come from collaborating partner organizations or other associations of older people. They are retired older people who recognize potential risks related to unhealthy lifestyles and who have the desire and abilities to support other elderly people.
The fourth target group is regional public, private and non-profit service producers, decision-makers and associations of older people. Project partners in each country contact this target group for developing collaboration.
The main outcome of HASIC will be increased empowerment, self-management and adoption of healthier lifestyles among older people (65+) in Europe. New tools, varying from virtual to group-based methods, will be available for health promotion and preventative work. In the long run, targeting resources on preventive work will save money by eliminating the need for expensive medical services later on. The training program develops professionals’ understanding of healthy lifestyles for older people, and gives them tools to work as group leaders for older people. Promoting collaboration between regional actors providing preventative social and health care services for older people will enhance the customer-orientation, quality, cost-effectiveness, and coordination of services.
On an individual level adopting healthy lifestyles gives older people more healthy years and more quality in their lives. Older people participating in peer groups will get tools for self-management and abilities to control health risks and prevent exclusion. They will be supported by the peer group and get a feeling of belonging in a community. The mentors working as volunteers will get activities to their daily routines and the feeling of being needed. Peer and neighborhood support and social contact and participation of elderly people in the community will be activated and strengthened by providing a networking tool.
On the community level by preventing health problems and exclusion of older people it is possible to reduce expensive social and health care services. Preventing health risks and exclusion also supports work ability, longer careers and later retirement of older employees which has positive effects on both individual and communal level.
The education develops professionals’ understanding about healthy lifestyles of older people and gives them tools to work as group leaders for older people. Promoting collaboration between regional actors promoting preventative social and health care services for older people will enhance the customer-orientation, quality, cost-effectiveness and coordination of services. The online platform will increase collaboration and networking of local actors and stakeholders in the health promotion, health care, social and educational sector by providing a common directory of local and regional activities and services.