Healthy Loneliness start co-creation sessions
The municipality of Valencia and the Universitat Politècnica de València launch co-creation workshops to detect and minimize loneliness of the elderly
During March the 27th and 28th Las Naves, innovation center of Valencia municipality hosts 3 co-creation of work groups that, within the framework of an EIT Health project, will analyse the feeling of unwanted loneliness in the elderly of our city, with the aim of starting up tools to detect and deal with it.
For two days, senior citizens, representatives of groups, agents from areas such as healthcare, NGOs or social services, participate in these co-creation workshops that will identify environments, causes, consequences and needs to cope with unwanted loneliness, fulfilling the goal of increasing self-esteem and having an active and healthy aging.
The Healthy Loneliness project lasts one year. During this time, Valencia, Paris and Lodz (Poland) - the three partner cities of this European initiative - will perform an analysis of loneliness in their respective cities and will launch several activities, such as participatory workshops and educational pilot actions. Las Naves Innovation centre from the municipality of Valencia and the ITACA institute of the Universitat Politècnica de València are the responsible entities of performing these tasks in Valencia city.
After the project kick off and the definition of the project framework these co-creation workshops are one of the main milestones of the project. The sessions will involve elderly people and representatives of groups in the city such as the Red Cross, Friends of the Elderly association, Caritas, organizations devoted to the attention of senior citizens such as Atenzia, Gesmed or Integral Social Initiative, social services technicians from neighbourhoods such as Nazaret, Orriols and Cabanyal, as well as various public health professionals.
The workshops will focus on diving into the causes, the environments, the consequences of unwanted loneliness, as well as the needs of the people who suffer it.
Second stage of the project
Based on the conclusions of these workshops, the project will move to the design of educational pilot actions that will provide seniors who are alone to cope with the feeling of loneliness, increase the self-esteem, have an active and healthy aging and improve your quality of life.
The partners will launch a specific recruitment campaign to attract and enrol senior volunteers who feel alone. Similarly, an evaluation of results will also be carried out and this analysis will be part of the final evaluation of the results of the project.
According to Antonio Martinez-Millana, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the co-creation workshops represent a new way of dealing with contemporary problems in society: "Healthy Loneliness is an example of bottom-up innovation, in which the users are the central axis of all design and implementation actions ». According to Martinez-Millana, the research team will work on the creation of a new training program that will help to mitigate the risks of living in loneliness: "In this project we have elaborated new statistics and data on the problem of loneliness but thanks to the workshops we can understand the problem in all its dimensions, and therefore, design actions that are focused on the needs, perceptions and motivations of our elderly people ».
Figures of unwanted solitude
During the last project meeting in February, partners elaborated a first radiography of the loneliness of the cities participating in Healthy Loneliness. In the case of Valencia, 5.4% of the total population over 64 years old are living alone. Of these, 76.2% are women. By neighborhoods, this population is concentrated mainly in L'Olivereta, Extramurs, Maritime Villages and Four Carreras – which are not correlated with high deprivation.
The Councilor for Innovation of the City Council of Valencia, Berto Jaramillo, said: "We need to create awareness in the public and in public administrations of the need to address a problem so current and worrying in our societies as is loneliness unwanted, which shows increasingly high indices. Therefore, projects such as Healthy Loneliness fulfil this objective and help us deal with the root issue. "
Valencia, March 27, 2018
PRESS OFFICE LAS NAVES and Universitat Politècnica de València