Professional Guardianship of the Disabled Elderly with No Financial Resources in Barcelona, Spain
Project location: SPAIN, Barcelona
Project start date: December 2016 - Project end date: December 2017
Project number: 2015-010
Beneficiary: Fundacio Jaume Batlle Bigas, Entitat Tutelar
Ageing in Spain and Catalonia because of scientific development and the welfare state is certainly an unprecedented social success. The increasing of the life expectancy has led to newly retired people still expect to live two more decades, and much of these years can live in relatively good health. However, and indeed as a result of this increase in life expectancy, the number of elderly dependents will continue to increase. However, if the age dependency rates decline, the number of elderly dependents could increase gradually.
In 2013 the population over 65 years in Catalonia represented 17.95%, while in 1981 it was of 11.19%. The dependency ratio of the elderly in Catalonia for the year 2013 was of 27% while in 1981 it was of 17% (Source: Catalan Institute of Statistics).
Despite this increase in survival, the size of households has decreased substantially due to the decrease in fertility. Because of this so-called "double aging", the proportion of older people has increased dramatically. No wonder, then, that politics have to face increasingly, decisions related to the consequences of aging, although the policy response often comes as a reaction to the effects. Political changes or new measures caused by the aging of the population has different scopes.
In this sense, the model chosen by the Catalan Autonomous Community for the protection of persons legally disabled (in all segments of age) has been to subsidize to non-profit entities that take the care of these people. Of the currently 64 tutelary entities existing in Catalonia, only 6 are dedicated to older people, and of these only 4 are dedicated exclusively to this age group, including the Fundació Jaume Batlle Bigas.
The main characteristic of the Jaume Batlle Bigas Foundation is its personalised care for its wards. However, given the worsening of the economic situation and the decrease in resources provided to Guardianship Organisations by the Authorities, public grants do not allow for the incorporation of new personnel to care for our wards with the same level of quality that the Foundation believes necessary and essential for the wellbeing and dignity that everyone deserves.
The Jaume Batlle Bigas Foundation forms part of the network of 64 guardianship organisations that the Generalitat de Catalunya Department of Social and Family Welfare has accredited to this public task of guardianship in a professionalised manner. The Foundation receives a public grant to perform this work and, therefore, must maintain a mandatory human resource structure: social workers and care assistants, administration and accountancy manager, administrative clerk, legal department and management. The service is also standardised in terms of the service it provides. In relation to the purpose of this request, this means that the social workers responsible for each case must make at least one monthly visit to the ward, whereas care assistants must make at least 3 per month. In other words, each ward receives at least 4 visits a month.
In terms of the quality distinguishing the Foundation, this attention is extremely insufficient and does not meet the minimum criteria of proper care, as it does not meet the needs of human contact that many of the wards require. These wards have no family or friends and no social network to visit them, take them out or simply chat to them for a couple of hours.
The Foundation has considered these people by introducing the figure of the caregiver, who is not included in the structure funded by the public authorities and, therefore, is not subsidised.
Throughout its history, the Jaume Batlle Bigas Foundation has sought to provide personalised care to the elderly to a high level of quality and professionalism. In order to continue offering the quality for which it is characterised, it now needs the collaboration of a person to continue providing support and care for people with no financial resources.
The caregiver forms part of the Social Area of the Foundation and visits the wards that the Area Head, in a decision made together with the person responsible for each case, considers require extra care.
Therefore, the caregiver is initially guided by the person responsible for each case as to the ward in question and a schedule is established every month for weekly visits lasting approximately 2-3 hours. The caregiver can make around 15-20 visits a week, caring for an average of 30-40 people a month.
The caregiver writes a brief report on each visit, which is supervised by the person responsible for each case. Using the remaining information provided by the care assistant and the ward him/herself, decisions can be made on how to provide better care for that person and his/her personal, emotional, financial needs, etc.
However, the personal bond that the ward may form is the most important, and this bond would most likely not exist without this caregiver.
In the short term, the Foundation seeks to permanently appoint a new person to the social area in order to meet the needs of this profile of people who are alone, with no social or family network, and who have no financial resources, in order to improve and dignify the last stage of their lives.
The Nando Peretti Foundation, Delegació a Catalunya has awarded a grant for this project.