Planning for aging with policies that allow seniors to live where they want

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The National Plan for Active Ageing will have solutions adapted almost to the reality of each one, either with shared housing or works in residences, so that older people can choose where they prefer to live until later.

The coordinator of the Action Plan for Active and Healthy Ageing, which began on April 1, defended that it is a great bet of the current government, explaining that it will be a plan focused on people and not on services.

Nuno Silva Marques was previously at the helm of the Algarve Biomedical Center, which was part of the Algarve Reference Center for Active Ageing, one of the four reference centers that make up the Portuguese Network for Active and Healthy Ageing (RePEnSA), from which emerged an action plan to promote healthy and active aging by 2030, which will be submitted to the Minister of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security in 2021.

According to him, it is expected that the National Plan for Active Ageing will be presented by the end of the first semester, i.e. by the end of June, and that it will enter into force, with measures on the ground, starting in the second semester.

Nuno Marques, who was elected by the Ministers of Health and Labor, explained that the planned measures aim to respond to people’s problems, involving different institutions and services, whether public, civil society or business, and that this will be “the great challenge”.

The future will be made up of services tailored to the needs of those in need, and among the four pillars on which the new plan is based is that of autonomy and independent living, including measures to “adapt the places where people live”.

“We need to have multidisciplinary teams to support people and therefore often find tailored suits to preserve the autonomy of each person,” said Nuno Marques.

According to the responsible, there will be an integrated care management that “will be the focus of the plan”, a task that he classified as “important” and “relevant”, taking into account that the way people reach older ages today is not the same as decades ago and this requires adaptation, since “many of them are and will continue to be very valid for society”.

Nuno Marques believes that the ideal is that there is a “gradual and progressive transition” towards less institutionalization, so that “more and more people are where they want to be.

“That is, in most cases, in their homes, in their domiciles, integrated in their community, where they have always been”, he pointed out, although he admitted that “there will always be situations in which institutionalization in homes will be necessary”.

He defended that the way forward must be to build a response that keeps people in their homes, in the places where they are integrated, “preserving their autonomy and their abilities until as late as possible,” and that therefore “one of the great emphases will always be prevention.

In this context, he explained, measures such as rehabilitation work in the home or community living come into play, as well as differentiated home support, “concrete measures that preserve the ability of people to live in their own homes.

The plan also includes a pillar on health prevention and well-being, another on care, and a third on civic participation and integration, all with “multiple measures”.

Nuno Marques highlighted, among the health and well-being measures, the prevention of disease, which will include the conditions that exist in the workplace and that contribute to some long-term diseases that will affect the way people reach old age.

The expert stressed that “there is no single measure that will solve the problem of aging,” pointing out that situations will be different depending on whether the person lives in a metropolitan area, for example, or in an isolated part of the country, and that this will have to be taken into account when adapting the response.

For this reason, in addition to the institutions of social solidarity, it will be necessary to involve the parishes and communities, which are often the ones who know best the reality and the response that people need.

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