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Luleå tests new solutions in elderly care

Aging population is one of the biggest challenges for the Swedish municipality

  • December 11, 2019 13:00
  • Author Plamen Petrov
Medium lulea city festival water
Source: Andreas Harnemo - Från lokal fotograf www.snowgarden.se, on Wikipedia under CC BY-SA 3.0

More people in the developed countries are getting older simultaneously while there are fewer people of working-age. This trend, which puts pressure on the social security systems and distorts the labour market, is something that not only central, but local governments are worried about, too. The administration of Luleå is among them.

Statistical data shows that the number of people aged 65 and older in the Swedish municipality is projected to increase by 1151 persons between the years 2019-2026. Therefore, Luleå views the development of elderly care as one of its biggest challenges. So big that it requires social services to streamline their operations and come up with innovative solutions. The focus is on three areas: coordination of resources, strengthening of preventive health work and implementation of new technology.

Kronan home for the elderly

The new accommodation centre for the elderly in Kronan is under construction

Four elderly care homes that need renovation will be replaced in 2021 by a new accommodation facility that is under construction in the Kronan residential area. It is designed to both fit older people and provide a better care and work environment for the staff. Here, digital technology will enable increased security and independence for the residents.

Welfare technology

The Social Department of the municipal council is testing new technologies for application in health care in collaboration with the IT sector. Security cameras, for example, are used for those who need supervision at night but do not want to be disturbed in their home. Demand has increased so much that people are queueing up to have a camera installed, says the city council. Keyless home service, digital medicine signing and various self-service e-services are other welfare technologies being tested.

Having started as a pilot project, Elderly Support has received new funding for the next three years. The programme is an example of how a new way of working helps the elderly to stay at home, reduces loneliness and contributes to better health.

Not all is roses, however. The need to hire staff for the elderly care is great and one challenge is to attract as many men as women.

Nevertheless, Luleå city council will not be swayed in its conviction that elderly people are not a burden. They have earned their right to live a meaningful life, feel secure and enjoy the respect of their fellow citizens.

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