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Scenarios for elderly care in 2025

Artikkelen tilhører Health and biotechnology, postet 23. apr 2014

Hilde Lovett
KONTAKTPERSON:

Hilde Lovett

The proportion of elderly in society is continually increasing, and in few years we will not have enough people in the workforce to cover the need for health- and care-services. Welfare technology can be an important part of the solution.

Participants with inside knowledge

How can we use technology in health care, how does technology challenge us, and what alternatives do the decision makers locally and nationally have?

These were the questions the participants discussed at a scenario-workshop arranged by the Norwegian Board of Technology (NBT) in March. The participants know where the problems lie – they are representatives for the elderly themselves and their organizations, people working in the field, volunteers, local decision makers, researchers, and providers of technology solutions.

“The participants in the scenario workshop were knowledgeable and dedicated, and we have a lot of interesting material to analyze and work with”, says Hilde Lovett, project leader for NBT.

The aim of the scenario workshop was for the groups, through discussions of pros and cons in each scenario, to arrive at visions for the future elderly society and to give recommendations on how to fulfill them.

European project

The scenario workshop is a part of a larger European project. NBT has for an extended period of time worked with the topic “elderly care of the future”, and has led the work of developing scenarios and train the project partners in using the scenario method. The other partners come from Denmark, Belgium (Wallonia), Ireland, Spain (Catalonia), Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

“It will be interesting to see both how the development has been since The Norwegian Board of Technology conducted a similar project in 2009, and how Norway compares to other countries in Europe”, says Lovett.

Three scenarios for 2025

The discussions took as their starting point three stories on how elderly care can develop in the future, and how the choices the authorities make will affect the lives of elderly who are of varying physical condition and life situations:

  • Volunteering community takes as its starting point volunteering people as the key resource for the community and for each other. This could include the senior citizens themselves, their relatives, charities, neighbours, school children etc. The [council/municipality’s] main role is to mobilize coordination of the volunteering organizations
  • Freedom of choice finds its starting point in a new political system where monetary support goes directly to the user, and this scenario furthermore describes a society where you can buy a great variety of care services from the open market. Everyone in need for care is entitled to monetary support based on his or her health condition.
  • One size fits all is based on the assumption of lack of labor in the future, and it describes a large-scale governmental initiative using technologies to make people more self-reliant.

The scenarios and working documents are openly available for everyone: Anyone who wishes to use these documents to conduct a scenario workshop, can contact the NBT.

New rapports

The Norwegian Board of Technology is now working on systematizing and compiling the results from our national scenario workshop in Norway. This is also being done for the scenario workshops that are being held in the nine other European countries during the spring. We will publish a joint rapport in the autumn. The results will be presented at a conference in Brussels in November.

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