The Red Cross of Montenegro, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Public Health, has been implementing the project “Innovative support services for the elderly in the community” since the beginning of November this year.
The project will last 36 months, is being implemented in Austria, Serbia and Montenegro, and is funded by the European Union and the Austrian Development Agency. The main applicant of the project that will coordinate activities in the three countries is the Austrian Red Cross. In Montenegro, all planned activities will be implemented in two municipalities, in Bar and Bijelo Polje, through municipal Red Cross organizations.
The overall goal of the project is to contribute to national policy reforms in the area of long-term care through the introduction of innovative support services in local communities. The first specific objective is to develop and test innovative multisectoral community-based care centers for older people in need of care, as well as for informal careers. Another specific goal refers to the representation of these services in policies / relevant long-term care documents in Austria, Montenegro and Serbia. Achieving these two goals affects the main challenges of long-term care, namely: accessibility, accessibility, quality and sustainability.
Long-term care can be defined as a set of services that respond to the health and all other needs of people with chronic diseases and / or disabilities who can not take care of themselves for a long period of time. Long-term care includes community services such as: home help, meal delivery, transportation, etc.
Informal carers are people of all ages who provide care to someone with a chronic illness, disability or other health difficulties, outside the professional or formal employment framework. Most caregivers are: parents, children, partners, grandchildren, siblings, friends or neighbors.
The project involves two innovative approaches in responding to the needs of the elderly and those who care for them. The first refers to the opening of two community care centers, within the municipal organizations of the Red Cross Bar and Bijelo Polje, which will include social and health care services. One social worker, one nurse and two geronto-housewives will work in the centers. The main goal of the centers is to provide support to the elderly as well as their informal carers, in order to preserve the functional ability of the elderly, promote healthy aging and thus enable people to stay at home for as long as possible with a satisfactory quality of life. Social workers will monitor the condition of the beneficiaries, be in charge of assistance in exercising rights and advice in the field of social services, while the nurse will be in charge of visiting the beneficiaries and regularly monitoring their health condition. In addition, a nurse and a social worker will organize various workshops and presentations on the topic of healthy aging for informal carers and the elderly themselves. Geronto housewives will be in charge of regular visits to the elderly who need help in daily activities, with a focus on helping to maintain personal hygiene and the hygiene of the space in which the user resides.
Another innovative approach is to provide support to people who have cognitive difficulties and dementia. In this part, volunteer services will be provided for elderly people with dementia by trained volunteers. In addition, the Austrian Red Cross will present a special type of support for this population, through the use of technology, which will be applied for the first time in Serbia and Montenegro.
The project also includes other activities related to networking of all relevant institutions and organizations that will meet at the local level, in order to exchange information and respond more effectively to the needs and challenges in each individual case.
At the very end of the project, an evaluation is planned that will show the success of the centers as well as services for people with dementia, and give recommendations for further action to apply the same model of services in other municipalities.