Agefriendly Ljubljana Findings From Research Carried Out In 20082009

Agefriendly Ljubljana Findings From Research Carried Out In 20082009

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Age-friendly Ljubljana
Findings from research carried out in 2008-2009
Anton Trstenjak Institute of Gerontology and Intergenerational
Coexistence
Ljubljana, 10 December, 2009
The report “Age-friendly Ljubljana” in cooperation with the Anton
Trstenjak Institute summarizes a project of the World Health
Organization (WHO) “Age-friendly cities”, which desires to help city
authorities throughout the world to introduce a friendlier lifestyle
in cities, especially regarding senior citizens. In Ljubljana we have
completely respected the method of work of the WHO, but have
complemented it with the possibility of constantly checking on city
life and with periodic yet regular presentation of the proposals,
wishes and viewpoints of Ljubljana citizens to the mayor or his
services.
Ljubljana is the first Slovene city that decided with the support of
its mayor to join the project “Age-friendly cities”. Since the WHO
recommends to all its member states that their cities which want to
join the project should associate in national networks of age-friendly
cities and these should then be linked at the international level,
Ljubljana has become a model within Slovenia for Maribor, Celje and
Velenje, which have meanwhile joined this project. At the same time
the Ljubljana model with its complementation enables the basic WHO
project to develop in the same or a similar way in other, non-Slovene
environments. The particular feature of the Ljubljana model is that it
develops and maintains a constant democratic and constructive dialogue
between the citizens and the mayor. The former observe the situation
and conditions in the city and form proposals in a positive way as to
what should be arranged and how, in order to improve the general
situation. Most of the proposals can be realized without great expense
though with the necessary perseverance of the city services, and thus
step by step the friendly nature of city life can be strengthened.
In Ljubljana and in the Slovene network of age-friendly cities we wish
to keep to the following principles:
1. To have a positive influence on behaviour patterns and the
arrangement of city life in democratic cooperation between the
citizens and the mayor’s office.
2. To set up criteria for evaluating what is good and what is not good
in the city, to shape together the values of the city and to
strengthen its social culture.
3. To acknowledge the right of individuals equally and without
discrimination and their capacity for making joint decisions, and to
strengthen their feeling of belonging to the city.
4. To stimulate tolerant life in the city by including the knowledge
and experience of senior citizens and without political, religious or
economic prejudices.
5. Not to demand agreement yet not to neglect the viewpoints
expressed.
6. To evaluate in a well-intentioned way all the consequences of the
decisions accepted and realized.
An important first step in introducing Age-friendly Cities in Slovenia
was the research carried out in Ljubljana by the Anton Trstenjak
Institute of Gerontology and Intergenerational Coexistence. In this
research the Institute took fully into account the contents of the
so-called Vancouver protocol, according to which the WHO assessed the
viewpoints of senior citizens in 33 cities throughout the world. Thus
the results of the Ljubljana research are comparable both with the WHO
recommendations and with the research results in any of the
above-mentioned 33 cities. If we look at Ljubljana from this
international average, we can see that the wishes of Ljubljana
citizens do not differ significantly from those of their equals
elsewhere in the world. But it is interesting that nevertheless they
express current wishes and needs, behind which we can feel the
present-day state of Ljubljana.
A condensed/ presentation of findings from the Ljubljana research in
comparison with the WHO recommendations follows.
Friendly measures towards seniors, recommended for specific spheres of
city life by the WHO, and recommendations by Ljubljana senior citizens
about friendly aspects of life in the same spheres in Ljubljana
I
OUTDOOR SPACES AND BUILDINGS
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 years and caregivers, volunteers,
public and commercial service providers concerning outdoor spaces and
buildings in Ljubljana
1. The city environment is organized and clean, life and movement
around Ljubljana is interesting and safe.
2. Public and residential buildings have lifts and appropriate aids,
flats in them are arranged with regard to seniors, and respect the
regulations of 2003 about the organization of access, entrance and
exit from residential buildings
3. There are sufficient parking places and multi-storey car parks in
the city.
4. Parks and green spaces are not built-up, they are well-maintained
and have sufficient seating and pathways, which are gritted in winter.
5. The pavements are not used for parking, they are low and suitable
for invalids, they have interlinked cycle paths and inclines, cyclists
and roller-bladers do not endanger the safety of pedestrians using
them; pavements are being made where they are lacking at present, e.g.
in Dravlje.
6. Bollards on pavements are arranged so that home deliveries are
possible.
7. Green lights on pedestrian crossings are arranged so that they
allow time for seniors to cross.
8. Public institutions, municipal and other offices, clinics, shops,
post offices, services, cultural institutions, churches, society
headquarters, bus stops, etc. are in the vicinity and easily
accessible for seniors and invalids.
9. In the centre of Ljubljana there are enough small shops, which make
accessible daily shopping possible for seniors so they do not need to
visit big shopping centres on the margins of the city.
10. In self-service shops labels on articles are printed in
sufficiently large type, payment at cash desks is quick, frail seniors
and invalids are helped with shopping, articles can be ordered for
home delivery.
11. On certain days there are discounts for pensioners in shops.
12. Safety of movement in Ljubljana streets and increased vigilance
against vandalism on city buildings is ensured by sufficiently
numerous police patrols and good street lighting.
13. Public toilets are sufficiently well distributed throughout the
city and steps to those located in basements are not too high.
14. The market place in Ljubljana is a friendly part of the city
centre for everybody.
II
TRANSPORTATION
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 and Ljubljana caregivers, volunteers,
public and commercial service providers concerning transportation (and
traffic) in Ljubljana
15. Traffic safety is maintained by toleration between drivers and
pedestrians, in driving schools future drivers are trained to show
consideration for seniors present in traffic, drivers act with
responsibility and do not telephone while driving.
16. City buses run sufficiently frequently, bus routes are suitably
distributed, ensuring good connections between peripheral areas and
the centre, connections between inter-city buses and trains are
coordinated.
17. Public transport is easily accessible for seniors and invalids,
buses allow comfortable entrance and exit with low steps or adjustable
height, they have convenient handrails, greater safety and comfort for
passengers is taken care of through cameras, large information screens
and accurate loudspeaker announcements.
18. Bus drivers are patient, they respect the requests of frail
passengers, they drive smoothly, stop exactly alongside the pavement
and start off only when seniors are sitting or holding the handrails,
any injuries on buses are refunded to those affected.
19. By means of loudspeaker announcements or with the help of
volunteers, bus passengers are directed to give up their seats to
seniors, invalids or mothers with young children and to help them in
getting on and off the bus.
20. Tickets for invalids and seniors are free or reduced in price.
21. There is no parking at bus-stops, bus shelters and seats in them
are clean, not damaged and comfortable, and enable invalids as well to
wait safely for transport.
22. Transportation by taxi is affordable, taxi drivers know the city
well, speak Slovene, if necessary they help older clients to their
home, some taxi drivers are equipped to transport invalids and their
wheelchairs.
23. The transport regime does not change too frequently, there are few
one-way streets, the traffic flow is organized also in peak hours, the
main highways have six lanes, including a special bus lane. The
introduction of tram routes, urban and underground railways is being
planned.
24. The traffic-free area in the centre of Ljubljana is being
extended, delivery of specific items (food) with short-term parking is
allowed at certain times, suburban car parks are being enlarged,
campaigns for using public transport encourage the “park and drive”
principle.
25. Invalids’ vehicles have special markers and rights; special
transport is organized for seniors and invalids on particular
occasions.
26. Driving licenses for competent older drivers are extended without
bureaucratic hindrances.
III
HOUSING
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 and Ljubljana caregivers, volunteers,
public and commercial service providers concerning housing
27. Seniors are very attached to their homes, they do not like to move
and want to stay at home as long as possible, also with the help of
relatives or volunteers.
28. Flats adapted for seniors and invalids enable agile movement, they
have toilets and bathrooms with sliding doors, are affordable, rents
are suitable also for pensioners with low pensions.
29. Designs for new flats are age-friendly, old flats can be adapted
with the help of grants and advisory services for adapting flats.
30. The exchange between young people and seniors of bigger flats for
smaller ones is accelerated; moving is not handicapped by price, in
choosing new homes seniors should have priority in the allocation of
ground-floor flats.
31. In large residential housing units several generations live
together, in addition to flats for seniors, there is at least one flat
intended and equipped for invalids; the caretaker, who recognizes when
someone is missing for several days, takes care for safety and helps
the residents.
32. Seniors have the possibility that with appropriate support and
help they organize themselves into residential communities or that
they move into a communal flat and live as a social community or
“family”.
33. Sheltered housing ensures greater safety and does not mean the
ghettoization of seniors.
34. Most seniors live in flats and not in homes for senior citizens,
thus society gives priority attention to flats.
35. The police devote sufficient attention to preventing burglaries,
thefts and visits by fraudulent salesmen.
IV
SOCIAL PARTICIPATION
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 and Ljubljana caregivers, volunteers,
public and commercial service providers concerning social
participation in Ljubljana
36. For many seniors, living in their accustomed environment is a
condition for being included in social participation.
37. In Ljubljana there are many different social activities and
possibilities available for seniors.
38. The activities of cultural and educational institutions, volunteer
organizations, societies, churches, day centres, etc. are very
significant in social participation.
39. Seniors are reliably informed regarding the possibilities of being
included in various residential communities, the founding of clubs for
seniors is encouraged, and they are included in the preparation of
meetings, elections, arbitrations, sports refereeing, etc.
40. Concerts and cultural events are arranged for seniors at
favourable times, tickets with a discount are available,
transportation with minibuses, etc. is organized.
41. There are evening walks in parks with live music accompaniment,
evening dances intended for seniors are organized, but care is taken
that the use of loudspeakers for night-time musical events held
outdoors does not disturb the night-time peace of residents in the
vicinity
42. Since women predominate in social activities among seniors,
methods are being sought for attracting more men.
V
RESPECT AND SOCIAL INCLUSION
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 and caregivers, volunteers, public and
commercial service providers concerning respect and social inclusion
43. Senior citizens have contributed a great deal to the present-day
appearance of Ljubljana.
44. Social attention is ensured for all generations, intergenerational
relations are respectful and patient, trust and good relations between
the generations are maintained through conversations and meetings,
young and old give mutual help.
45. Volunteer intergenerational associations and societies help
seniors to be included in society, in resolving their mental,
spiritual and material difficulties, in providing a better image for
them in the media and in establishing a good social climate.
46. Children are taught at home and in school to show respect to
seniors, preparation for a healthy and active old age is included in
all periods of life.
47. Officials, shop assistants and employees are friendly and obliging
towards seniors.
48. In public institutions where waiting is involved (banks, post
offices), there are special service counters for invalids and seniors.
49. Services which are paid for are affordable for seniors with
discounts, there is a possibility of booking at a certain time,
services and the delivery of items and of food to the home can be
ordered.
50. There is assistance for social networks, volunteers, and
initiatives that aim at including the lonely and socially isolated in
the life of the city once again.
51. Volunteers take care that those with dementia have contact with
the life of the city.
52. Homes for senior citizens take care to inform and include their
residents in events in Ljubljana.
VI
CIVIC PARTICIPATION AND EMPLOYMENT
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 and volunteers, public and commercial
service providers concerning civic participation and employment
53. There are sufficient possibilities in Ljubljana for different
volunteer activities by seniors, every year picnics are organized for
senior volunteers, where symbolic awards are given.
54. The work of seniors is valued, firms and institutions invite their
retired colleagues to cooperate in projects and payment is given.
55. The work of seniors is encouraged and arranged by law.
56. The self-activity of seniors according to the principle “I can
offer – I need” is encouraged by a senior citizens’ Work Exchange or
by the possibility of carrying out pensioner services through a
Pensioner Service (similar to the Student Service); seniors with
appropriate knowledge are cultural mediators, informants, city and
museum guides, lollipop men and women, etc.
57. In various branches of education intended for pensioners there are
adequate possibilities for training them for other work and providing
knowledge also for those whose profession was not suitable for work
after retirement. .
.
VII
COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 and volunteers, public and commercial
service providers concerning communication and information
58. Necessary information is given to seniors by the media,
institutions, information centres, etc. and seniors themselves know
whom to ask in order to obtain necessary information.
59. The media draw the attention of seniors to programmes and events
which are interesting for them, while public services which give
information primarily through the internet see to it that their
information reaches seniors in other ways as well.
60. On the radio, which seniors like most of all to listen to, there
are special programmes about the life of seniors, with
recommendations, advice and warnings; the presenters speak slowly and
clearly, while on TV the subtitles are in sufficiently large type.
61. In all the media there are advisory services for the less
well-off, who cannot get to professional advice and opinions in the
usual way.
62. A call centre for information with trained staff is set up, and
there are sufficient information kiosks, which also have information
for seniors.
63. The yellow press has a minority position among the media,
information is not repeated too often, daily news programmes are not
too long.
64. Shops and shopping centres send advertisements only to a limited
extent, they also make it possible for information to be given by
telephone.
65.ATMs, ticket machines and other automatic machines have clear
instructions for use, printed in sufficiently large type and are
user-friendly.
66. Care is taken to provide sufficient local and district
information, also about the work of residential groups, which seniors
receive at home by post.
VIII
COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND HEALTH SERVICES
Ljubljana citizens aged over 60 and caregivers, volunteers, public and
commercial service providers concerning community support and health
services
67. The Health Service activity is well supervised, is not
bureaucratic but is patient-friendly, if necessary, patients can
complain to the management of the institution.
68. Doctors and nurses treat patients equally well, devote sufficient
time to them, are respectful and obliging, give instructions in a
comprehensible way, and if necessary write them down.
69. There is sufficient staff, especially nurses, and they are not
overburdened.
70. Health services are accessible, it is possible to arrange for them
by telephone, agreed appointment times are observed, private and
e-services are also possible.
71. Waiting periods do not force patients into expensive private
services, private patients do not have quicker access to services for
which there is a long waiting period.
72. If necessary, transportation by ambulance is accessible without a
referral note, and the ambulance comes quickly.
73. Prescribing of medicines is unified between doctors, inscriptions
and instructions on packages are understandable and in sufficiently
large type; prescriptions and medicines can be collected from health
institutions and pharmacies also by patients’ relatives.
74. Handing in and exchange of unused medicines is organized,
containers for the disposal of used medical material at home are
available and their removal is arranged.
75. Discharge certificates come quickly from hospitals so that
patients can have suitable care after discharge, for special cases
there are nursing homes and other institutions available for care and
palliative provision.
76. Volunteers who accompany elderly patients and those with limited
mobility can also give information to patients.
77. Visits by district nurses are sufficiently frequent, nurses carry
out all the prescribed services, and enough time is allowed for an
individual visit.
78. Health insurance is adapted to the needs of senior insured
persons.
79. Health and social services are interconnected, seniors are
well-informed about their social and health care rights.
80. There are sufficient homes for senior citizens, they are well
maintained and equipped, admission procedures are not complicated, nor
is it necessary to wait long for admission.
81. Standards in homes for senior citizens are adapted to the needs of
the residents, who can give attention to their own interests and the
maintenance of their physical condition, they are given good social
and medical care, they are not exposed to any form of violence, care
for invalids and seriously ill residents is introduced.
82. The professional staff in homes for senior citizens is adequately
trained in caring for seriously ill patients and has enough time for
the individual.
83. Sufficient funds are allocated for adapting flats for those senior
citizens who wish to remain in their own home environment.
84. Home care is organized equally well as in homes for senior
citizens, and is carried out in accordance with appropriate standards
by suitably trained carers, who enjoy all the rights of employees.
85. Training of family carers is introduced, their work, payment and
rights are arranged by law, so that safe and good-quality care is
ensured for the recipients.
86. The recipients of social services are not stigmatized, charity
organizations working in the field of care for lonely and poor elderly
individuals are included in the network of social services and
intergenerational assistance.
On the basis of collected material, this condensed survey of proposals
by Ljubljana citizens has been prepared by Dr. Božidar Voljč.
Anton Trstenjak Institute of Gerontology and Intergenerational
Coexistence
Ljubljana, 10 December, 2009