SenQuality - Preparation for later life

Trajanje projekta: 1.12.2020 – 30.11.2022

Vodja projekta: dr. Matej Mertik in dr. Peter Seljak

Financer: Erasmus+, KA2 Strateška partnerstva

Kratka vsebina projekta:

Demographic ageing is likely to be of major significance in the coming decades. Low birth rates and higher life expectancy will lead to a much older population structure. The total population in the EU is projected to increase from 511 million in 2016 to 520 million in 2070. However, the working-age population (people aged between 15 and 64) will decrease significantly from 333 million in 2016 to 292 million in 2070 (2018 Ageing Report: Policy challenges for ageing societies, European Commission).This leads to challenges for policy that

has to adapt to future demographic changes in terms of health and social care, ideas for today’s and tomorrow’s social systems and retirees, conditions in which people can make necessary economic and social contributions into later life but also measures to reduce loneliness and isolation as well as age discrimination. Fiscal costs linked to pensions, health care and long-term care are expected to rise over the coming decades which will lead to cuts in government-provided social security services. These expected cuts emphasize the

responsibility also of individuals to prepare for later life.

Preparation for age-related changes has been shown to increase quality of life and well-being in later life (Rowe and Kahn, Successful Aging, 1998).Noone, Stephens, & Alpass, Preretirement planning and well-being in later life, 2009; Yeung & Zhou, Planning for Retirement: Longitudinal Effect on Retirement Resources and Post-retirement Well-being, 2017; Preston et.al., Planning and preparing for later life, 2018).

But preparation for old age means more than just taking care about financial aspects. The project follows the assumptions of Anna E. Kornadt (University of Luxemburg) and Klaus Rothermund (University of Jena) who see preparation as a lifelong and multidimensional process that goes beyond financial preparation. They defined in their studies (e.g. 2014 Preparation for old age in different life domains: Dimensions and age differences) nine life domains relevant for preparation. They include preparations for an active ‘‘third age,’’ where the loss of the work role and its substitution with leisure activities or bridge employment are relevant, as well as those for a ‘‘fourth age’’ in which the deterioration of one’s health, dependence/independence, generativity issues, and closeness to death becomes more important.

The nine domains are:

  • Finances
  • Emergencies and Exceptional Circumstances
  • Mental and Physical Fitness
  • Housing
  • Looks and Appearance
  • Social relationships
  • Health
  • Leisure Activities and Lifestyle
  • Work and Employment.

For these nine domains, the Sen Quality project will develop a preparation tool in order to support well-being in later life in different important fields. Later life can be a great period of our lives – if people have a stable health condition, the necessary money, good social contacts, suitable home and care if they need it etc.. Most persons are aware of the fact that it will be difficult to keep the same standard of living without any preparation. But in spite of being aware of this, there is still a too low level of individual preparation. SenQuality therefore tries to motivate and support individual pathways in a positive way.

The target group are persons in their middle-age as well as senior citizens, acknowledging that preparation for later life changes over the life span. Financial aspects and also other changes related to retirement should play a role as early as possible. Preparation for age-related changes expected at the end of life should continue to increase in intensity until very old age.

The project should be carried out transnationally because ageing society is a challenge in terms of social re-organisation and future planning of European Union. Demographic change in Europe is seen as a challenge for many policy areas: family policy, education and lifelong learning and labour market policy, social protection systems, pensions, health and longterm care and finances /fiscal sustainability. Already at Stockholm European Council in 2001, European policies dealt with ageing society and the challenges posed by ageing populations. The EU Green Paper on demographic change (European Commission, 2005) comprehensively addresses the nature of the challenge Europe is facing and the urgency to take action. It summarises that ‘the structure of society is ... changing radically’ (p. 3) and concludes that we are dealing with ‘...urgent issues of common interest to which all the Member States need to respond’ (p. 4). A shared strategy is needed not only at policy level. The SenQuality project wants to contribute to an increased awareness among middle-aged

people and active seniors about the necessity of preparatory actions also by individuals and introduce a low-threshold, practical, understandable and easy accessible approach for later life planning for European citizens to deal with a common European challenge.

 

The main result will be a user-friendly and easy accessible tool to make aware of and support preparation for later life. SenQuality is not only focussing on financial provisions, health care and/or active ageing but focusses on nine different life domains. For each domain an individual assessment in form of a self-reflection will be carried out that leads to increased wareness but also to a concrete action plan for later life:

  • What is my current situation?
  • Where should it go? Plans, hopes and values for 3rd and 4th age.
  • What can I do to reach my aim?

Inspiration in form of country specific but also European information and good practice examples should supporting finding the own, individual pathway for the learner.

 

The project has three intellectual outputs with the following results:

1) Domains for later life preparation: The result will be an information pack as pdf with description of the domains, needs related to them as well as corresponding information and advice for later life preparation incl. good practice examples. The result will contain country-specific resources but also European approaches. This pdf will be an individual result but also the basis for the contents of IO3 focussing on the design of preparation pathways but also the introduction of the nine domains.

2) Reflecting on later life - methodological framework for the assessment of later life preparation: Concept for assessment, self-reflection and action plan in the nine domains concerned. This document will give the framework for self-reflection at the online platform but the methodology can also be used by counsellors, psychologists, community workers etc. when offering support to persons in situations of change.

3) Online platform for later life planning: After introductions into each domain the current situation of the users will be illuminated in form of a self-reflection, based on the conceptional framework developed in IO2 and information, resources and good practice examples from IO1.

Planning for later life is not a completely individual task but it is undertaken in relation to others, such as family and social networks, and it is shaped by social, economic and political contexts. These factors and influence criteria like awareness, choice and control, knowledge and skills, instrumental and informational support as well as social influence will be considered in the output development. The online platform will be the main result of the project as it contains and combines all other results.

 

The main target group for the platform contents are people in their middle life up to senior life, persons that can directly influence their 3rd and 4th age. For them the information pack and the online platform are the main results. But as mentioned there are also results relevant for trainers in adult education, counsellors, psychologists or in general persons working with senior citizens around retirement or other situations of change. The online platform with all its contents can be used in the own counselling process or it can be referred to. But also the methodological framework for the assessment tool can be interesting as inspiration for face to face counselling processes. At a multiplier event this framework will be presented and experienced besides the platform itself. In addition, there will be concrete results which are not listed in intellectual outputs or multiplier events.

Project related results:

  • project management documents: Management presentations, meeting and management reports, financial management templates, project interim and final report
  • project evaluation framework, questionnaires and interim and final evaluation reports
  • dissemination material (newsletters, flyers and other promotional products, social media presence, events).

Related to partners, counsellors/trainers/psychologists and the public:

  • awareness for a domain specific approach for later life preparation
  • establishment of local networks and exchange
  • background information about later life planning in other countries and best practice examples
  • experiencing a European area of lifelong learning.

Kontakt: Projekta pisarna AMEU: tel. št.: 059 333 075 ali email: anja.inkret@almamater.si ali petra.bk@almamater.si