T.A.A.F.E. Towards an alpine Age-Friendly Environment
Dear reader, welcome to the second TAAFE project newsletter. In this edition we would like to deepen the TAAFE model, the key elements in each pilot site and the priorities on which local communities decided to concentrate

Why TAAFE model is particular?

 

The Alpine space is seen as challenging testing ground to prove a participative methodology of services planning and implementation at an international level in order to observe its country-specific adaptations based on the local socio-historical characteristics, also for what concerns aging and older people care. 

The TAAFE model, inspired by World Health Organization’s (WHO) program Age-friendly cities and communities, is based on a participatory methodology of services design and implementation, thus involving social actors not only in the need assessment stage, but along the whole process: “co-assessment”, “co-decision”, “co-planning” and “co-implementation”.

The TAAFE project adopt such approach to identify and focus on one realistic priority task to be implemented in one-year time, giving place to multi-sectoral perspective and small but real achievements in community.

Figure of Methodological Facilitator and structure called TAAFE TRIO are two innovations, with the role of guiding the process launching a debate on age-friendliness at a local level and overbridge current lacking of knowledge and skills on the subject.

Since the start a special attention is given to the “hard to reach older people” with help of older people and formal/informal carers.

The model foresees the following 4 phases:

 

 

 

Let’s get to know the TRIO in each pilot site and the 3 priority domains

 

Pilot site 1 - Feldbach, Austria

 

The Austrian TRIO

 

Representative of the local structure: Daniela Adler, Representative from the Regional management of Southeast Styria, supporting the municipality and Lydia Stößl, representative from Feldbach Municipality

Representatives of the elderly:

  • Josef Roth, active in the contact of the senior representative organisation “Seniorenbund”
  • Anna Ploderer, active in the contact of the senior representative organisation “Seniorenbund”; representative in the municipality council and in the forum on Generations

Methodological facilitators, Martina Lindorfer (since June 2021) Katharina Handler (till June 2021); Irina Vana. All three are working as researchers and project managers at the Center for Social Innovation in Vienna. Within the TRIO they have the role of methodological facilitators.

The TRIO regularly organizes an (online) exchange for interested older citizens of Feldbach discussing ideas and activities aiming at an age friendly environment. The first jointly selected topic the group is working on is "Health awareness - staying flexible and lively" - "Active together". This topic aims at fostering active aging and joint activities in the community. The participation of representatives of the community ensures that these ideas can be incorporated into the agendas of the community and that the activities at different levels are mutually beneficial.

The three most frequently emerging domains that it was decided to deal with in order to make the local environment more age-friendly are Built Environment and Mobility, Social Service and Offers of the Community and Social Participation and Engagement. These themes can be grouped into health awareness and healthy aging, housing and transport. Ideas also emerged on the theme of social participation and the issue of inter-generationality. These two topics appear crosscutting to the previous.

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Concrete activities currently dealt with are:

  • An age-friendly hiking map of the city of Feldbach
  • Health coaches / hiking coaches who lead joint activities
  • Potentially: Equipment in the motor skills park for the older generation
  • Concepts of how the existing offers can be made visible and accessible to older people (for example exercise pass, homepage, brochure)

 

 

Pilot site 2 - Marseille, France

 

The French TRIO

 

Representative of the local structure: Jean-Stéphane BORJA, Project Manager at Pôle Services à la Personne Paca, an association of health, social, medical-social and home services organisations and providers, which aim is to build a coordinated health, care and help circuit for people living at home.

Representatives of the elderly: Yves Poirier, volunteer at Petits Frères des Pauvres, a French association fighting against isolation and loneliness of the elderly.

Methodological facilitators, Ingrid Dromard & Tine Roth, UGA post-doc UGA - PhD in Philosophy and work analysis.

The TRIO works on two sites of the association Petits Frères des Pauvres: a family pension and a day-care center, where they met elderly people accompanied by the association. TRIO members moderated expression groups on aging well (3, 6 or 12 people) and conducted individual interviews in times of Covid. The Local Action Group takes up the themes that emerged from these expression groups and puts them in discussion with local structures and organizations.

The three most frequently emerging domains that it was decided to deal with in order to make the local environment more age-friendly are Outdoor Spaces & Buildings, Community Support & Health Services and Information & Communication. The main topics that came out in the process are social relations, housing & mobility, security and access to information.

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Pilot site 3 – Tübingen & Mössingen, Germany

 

The German TRIO

 

The representatives of senior citizens Werner Baur and Ute Koll-Szonell constitute together with Andrea Feiler (project coordination / City of Mössingen), Jürgen Reichert-Hammerand and Felix Buss both from the County of Tübingen (representatives of the local structure, the District Office of Tübingen) the Trio. Also part of the Trio as methodological facilitators are Sandra Evans and Stewart Gold from the University of Tübingen (represented by the Lebensphasenhaus).

 

The municipality of Mössingen is a town with about 20,000 inhabitants on the edge of the Swabian Alb in Baden-Württemberg. Project partners are the University of Tübingen and the district of Tübingen. The local project coordinator is Andrea Feiler from the City of Mössingen.

In the Local Action Group about 20 citizens of the municipality work together - in addition to the Trio members, representatives of relevant NGOs and the city administration - to establish participation processes in an open, sustainable and structured manner, and to develop thematic topics. The LAG first selected three topics - housing, social participation, communication and information - from the eight Age-friendly city topic areas of the WHO, which they are working on as a prelude to a sustainable project. As an initial point, communication was chosen as a key and binding element and framing the further processes. The other two topics will be included again and again and will be developed further on an ongoing basis. They are currently in the implementation phase. Since the Covid19 pandemic also challenged our project, the first face-to-face meetings are now beginning (again).

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Pilot site 4 - Treviso, Italy

 

The Italian TRIO

 

The TRIO is composed by Luciano Prosdocimo, president of Villa Letizia community center, as older adult citizens representative; Marco De Vidi, administrative employee and Daniela Tramutola, social worker, representatives of the local structure of Treviso Municipality; Adele De Stefani, European project officer and anthropologist from ISRAA, with the role of methodological facilitator, supported by the local ISRAA team.

TRIO worked closely with the Local Action Group to start a discussion on what can be considered age-friendly in Treviso and what constitutes a challenge. More extensive mapping was then carried out involving the population: about 50 over 65 were contacted to collect opinions, ideas and proposals. Citizens were then kept constantly updated on the evolution of the process. Updating was key also to circulate information and to raise awareness on the topic. A great contribution in the gathering has been provided by the students from the high school, whose teachers are active members of the Local Action Group. The final analysis of the opinions, conducted by the TRIO, identified two elements to focus on: the need for guidance in accessing digital services and the desire to sustain intergenerational knowledge exchange. The Trio is now managing the co-designed of a service answering these needs putting around the table Local Action Group members, older adults, students and local organizations.

The three most frequently emerging domains that it was decided to deal with in order to make the local environment more age-friendly are Communication & Information, Respect & Social Inclusion and Social Participation. The main issues highlighted during the need assessment process include difficulty in accessing online resources and information on existing services and opportunities. Such a situation prevents many older adults to properly reach information and to effectively manage administrative procedures, often limiting the possibility to take advantage of benefits. Also a tendency to consider older adults as passive user and to underestimate their role within society has been identified.  Strictly connected to this, it was underlined the deficit of pathways for older people to remain active after retirement, valuing their skills and offering them the chance to acquire new ones. In addition, poor communication between older people seems to contribute in preventing active social participation.

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Pilot site 5 – Žiri, Slovenia

 

The Slovenian TRIO

 

Representatives of older people: Marija Kokalj is president of the local organization Red Cross and very active older person. Bernarda Lukančič is a retired community nurse, with a lot of experience with older people, now a volunteer in many community projects for older people. Both are essential for Žiri’s TRIO; their knowledge, experiences and willingness to participate are inspiring.

Municipality representatives: Jana Peternel, employed in local administration.
Leja Žakelj, sociologist, joined the TRIO through her volunteer work with older people.

Facilitators: Marta Grčar is a graduated social pedagogue and Alen Sajtl university graduated psychologist, both are employed in Anton Trstenjak Institute, with a focus on the development of age-friendly communities and have been involved in many active and healthy ageing projects.

In the TAAFE project, the TRIO cooperates with a local action group consisting of representatives of various local associations that work with and for older people. With their help, the TRIO assessed their needs and set the priorities for the Žiri community.
Since a home for the elderly is currently being built in Žiri, their first priority is to integrate it well to the community. The second priority is to establish and support sustainable age-friendly volunteering and the third to support family carers and offer them support and knowledge they need in caring for their older family members.

The main topics that came out in the process are the lack of general and home services for older people that need long term care; the perception of older people to be a burden on society and unproductive; poor organization of information and lack of coordination and collaboration among the voluntary organization for older adults.

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STAY TUNED!

 

Stay tuned to keep updated on the progress of the activities!

 

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European Regional Development Fund