Carer+ conference – Digital skills for caregivers

As a project manager of educational projects for adults and senior citizens at the Digital Opportunities Foundation (Germany) I had the opportunity to participate in the Carer+ conference in Paris on March 27th 2015. It was a great pleasure to meet interesting speakers and practitioners engaged in the improvement of social care in Europe.

The conference was organised in order to present project results from the Carer+ project and to activate all levels of society – politics, science, volunteers, social organisations, economics etc. – for raising awareness of carers. The podium welcomed more than 30 speakers during the course of the day. Thus the organisers made  strong partnership and involvement in many fields of interests visible.

Taking care of elderly people in their own home means huge efforts for relatives, friends or professional carers. Those responsibilities are often not recognised publicly despite their crucial value for a caring society. As the people in our society become older and older the need to develop strategies and possibilities to allow dignified ageing increases. Dignified ageing means being able to choose and to stay at home as long as possible. The project Carer+ aimed to qualify caregivers for elderly people in developing their digital skills for improving their daily routines and quality of work (April 2012 to April 2015) during a three years project period.

High level speakers enriched the debate at the conference. Ieva Jaunzeme (State Secretary of the Ministry of Welfare oft he Republic of Latvia) presented the needs for job creation. The inclusion of digital opportunities and new technologies enrich job profiles and support the quality of work. Thus, innovative job profiles need to be developed in a sector which does not obviously attract young people to work in. Franscesca Colombo (OECD, Head of Health Division) pointed out that it is mostly women who provide informal care. Those need to be supported in order to facilitate their daily routines.

The consortium developed and piloted a blended learning course which allows informal learning and qualifies social caregivers in using new technologies. It further helps to improve their quality of work and aims to provide tools which empower elderly people in using new technologies.

The consortium consists of 13 partner organisations from eight European countries which work towards enabling elderly people to stay at home. The Carer+ training programme and resources are available on request. To find out more about the project and its results go to: http://carerplus.eu/content/conference-smart-homecare-0

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