What is the problem/issue you are trying to address?
According to the survey for the needs of seniors (‘Seniorenbehoeftenonderzoek’) the age of 80 is a turning point among seniors when it comes to physical mobility.
The City centre is one of the areas, in which seniors move the least. Despite various mobility offers, there are no targeted actions focused on prevention for people aged 60-80, nor specific interventions for 80+.
The partners of this pilot, the City of Ostend (as lead partner) and Westtoer, will join forces to try to tackle this issue. The City of Ostend aims to develop mobility offers, while Westtoer will integrate a communication dimension: a new mobility concept will be set up that increases social participation in City life through better communication and mobility offers.
The survey for the needs of seniors (‘Seniorenbehoeftenonderzoek’) shows a clear link between increase in age and less physical mobility. The older seniors get, the less they’ll move/travel by foot, by car and by bike and the less they’ll participate in physical activities (movement/sports). Consequently, the frequency of leaving the house and being part/a member of society drops significantly. Furthermore, the frequency of falling is higher in the City centre in comparison with the other districts of the City.
The aim of the City of Ostend is to change these observations and stimulate the physical mobility of the senior citizens in several ways. Westtoer will maintain communication between the City and its citizens.
Stakeholders on your pilot
1) Focus group: ‘Beweeg aan Zee’ (Move and se(a)): 19th of September 2017, 13h30 – 15h00. On the 19th of September we organised a focus group, named ‘Beweeg aan Zee’ (‘Move and Se(a)’). Invitations were sent to all the relevant partners in the work field (= the city centre district) through targeted mailing and through our sustainable networking relationships The following 8 stakeholders were present (number of persons between parentheses):
- Sports department, City of Ostend: sports promotor (1)
- Elderly/Senior care, PCSW Ostend: director (1)
- Contact point seniors in need, PCSW Ostend: coordinator (1)
- S-Plus West Flanders, Bond Moyson: educational employee for Seniors (1)
- District manager of the city centre, PCSW Ostend (1)
- Public domain department, City of Ostend: landscape designer (1)
- Senior Advisory Council of the City of Ostend (SARO): co-chairman (1)
- The elderly and volunteer policy coordinator, City of Ostend (1)
- Focus group with elderly and second residents older than 55 + who visit the Belgian Coast: 10 participants: 20th of June
2) Consultation meetings with stakeholders and intermediary organizations separately. 12 consultation meetings were held with (number of persons between parentheses
- Senior Advisory Council of the City of Ostend (SARO) (32)
- Mindermobielencentrale (specialised transport of people with reduced mobility) of the health insurance Christelijke Mutualiteit (CM), CMobiel: coordinator (1)
- Sports department, City of Ostend: sports promotor + sports intern (2)
- Contact point seniors in need, PCSW Ostend: coordinator + intern (2)
- The day-care centres for elderly people Clemence Wante and De Kust: head of the department (1)
- District manager of the City centre, PCSW Ostend (1)
- Mindermobielencentrale (specialised transport of people with reduced mobility) of the health insurance Onafhankelijk Ziekenfonds, Via OZ (teleconference) (1)
- Economic House Ostend (Board of Representatives of the retailers): centre manager + assistant of center manager (2)
- Social service of the department Geriatrics of the hospital AZ Sint-Jan Campus Serruys: social worker (1)
- Service centre De Boeie: assistant centre manager (1)
- S-Plus West Flanders of the health insurance Bond Moyson: educational employee for Seniors + coordinator mindermobielencentrale (specialised transport of people with reduced mobility) Mobilitas (2)
- Occupational therapists of Home Care, PCSW Ostend + intern (3)
3) Participation: As we’ll use the central area of the city as a testing ground we also introduced our project on the 20th of September to the counsel of the City centre district, in which the district manager of the City centre, social care organisations, health services, contact point seniors in need, elderly care of the PCSW, cultural center ‘De Grote Post’, chief of the neighbourhood police of the central area and the elderly and volunteer policy coordinator were present. We also participated in the City centre district counsel and its several workgroups, organised by the district manager of the City centre. We’ve contributed to 3 workgroups: workgroup ‘neighbourhood residents’ (search for better care and welfare for the neighbourhood residents), workgroup ‘neighbourhood involvement’ (working together on neighbourhood connection) and workgroup ‘neighbourhood communication’ (search for cooperating more effectively and communicating on neighbourhood level). We are convinced that their actions and expertise are very important to us. Their actions actions are connected to ours as they’ll be implemented in the same area and also cover our target population.
Who will benefit from this pilot? What is the goal that you are trying to achieve with this pilot?
- Inhabitants and second residents aged 60+ living in the City centre and the other city districts.
- local business sector (restaurants, retailers,… more activity in the City centre)
Our goal is to increase the physical mobility among the participating elderly in the City centre of Ostend by developing mobility offers and enhance communication towards its citizens.
Out of all the meetings as mentioned above, 10 ideas were generated:
- installing more benches in the City centre. These are resting points for elderly people. Rearrange/give them a new destination
- better use of benches in public space. A collective approach or cooperation (support) between the responsible partners is necessary
- mobile (picnic)benches. Citizens place them on locations themselves. If they remain stationed on a certain place, the City could install a bench on that spot.
- installing more public toilets. These are sanitary points for elderly people
- a bench and public toilets plan or map
- implementation of healthy walks (similar to start 2 walk & ‘zit je fit’-sessions). A freelance professional who accompanies and gives advice to the seniors on how to exercise
- accessible and comfortable sidewalks
- motion of fitness devices in the City centre with focus on seniors, ‘custom-built’ for the target population (similar to the ‘fit-o-meters’ for young people)
- install resting points for citizens through folding chairs at the house fronts
- plan walking routes in the city centre. Social and health organisations could make use of (parts of) these routes and promote them to their clients
Please find our selected ideas below.
Values for selection
- Certainty/security: before elderly people leave the house and go for a walk, they want to be sure they’ll be able to sit down for a moment and take a break at street benches (resting points). Furthermore, public toilets are a sort of relief for seniors, so that they are able to relieve themselves at any time. These two utilities serve as a safety assurance to move.
- Being active: seniors made it clear that they want to make use of sporting facilities (mobility offers), that they want to move
- Health: elderly people suggest that they need to go for a walk and that they need fresh air. They need to move because they have to keep their muscles strong
- Social interaction/involvement: seniors indicate there’s a shortage of benches in the City centre. They need those, as well as the (social interaction during) activities (mobility offers), to make contact or to connect/bond with neighbours or other citizens.
The project idea was well received by everyone involved. The sports department, SARO (Senior Advisory Board), policy for senior citizens, the public domain department, home care services, district managers, senior citizens, etc…They are all willing to contribute to the project and its actions. These positive vibes became very clear during the focus groups and formal and informal meetings.
The city centre district is one of the areas in which seniors move the least in comparison with the other districts in the city of Ostend. The so called ‘boardwalk streets’ (‘Zeedijkstraten’, streets which are perpendicular to the boardwalk) are well known for their predominantly older population.
The survey for the needs of seniors (‘Seniorenbehoeftenonderzoek’) shows a clear link between increase in age and less physical mobility. The older seniors get, the less they’ll move/travel by foot, by car and by bike and the less they’ll participate in physical activities (movement/sports). Consequently, the frequency of leaving the house and being part of or a member of society drops significantly.
Furthermore, the frequency of falling is higher in the City centre in comparison with the other districts of the City.
Despite various mobility offers, there are no targeted actions focused on prevention for people aged 60-80, nor specific interventions for 80+. Moreover, there are no sport facilities in this area.
Almost half of the seniors indicates the shortage or lack of public toilets as a deficit in terms of mobility.
When one makes the comparison between the city centre and the other districts, more often seniors indicate the lack or shortage of benches in the city centre district.
These findings are the results of the survey for the needs of seniors and the City Labs.
== Implementation/Practic ality/Organisational/Financial Feasibility ==
The idea of organising walking sessions seems to be practic able and financially feasible, but the concern rises that there won’t be enough participants to pursue our goals, as in this part of the City it’s very difficult to mobilize people for participation in these sessions.
The idea of a bench plan seems to be practicable and financially feasible.
Additional assets and resources
Communication expertise to promote our actions towards the target group is most welcome. It’s not easy to reach the target group, let alone the potential participants.
Furthermore, it’s not an easy job to find the right ‘sports coach or mentor’ that actually fits the profile for the Silver Sessions.
Last, we are in search of a ‘monitoring system’ which tracks the number (how many and when) of users of the brochure of our bench plan ‘Silver Routes’. The digital world is mostly unknown for our target group.
Have you made any changes to your original plans, why did you make the change and what information did you base your new plans on? For instance any changes you made to the context, format, timing, setting or population at this stage?
No changes have been made yet.
The actions we’ve set are perfectly suitable in the local setting or area, more specifically in the city centre district. Of course we depend on the participation of residents in the neighbourhood, so this will be our key aspect to deal with.
For example, the Silver Sessions. We can multiply to other districts with a few small adaptations. We must evolve towards a gene ral model and make it as sustainable as possible. We have to move towards a ‘copy-paste story’.
Selected ideas for next phase
The City of Ostend will create a pilot in which it will try by to increase the mobility of its elderly people by offering them targeted actions in terms of movement. This new mobility concept consists of 4 actions to increase movement:
- The implementation of walking routes alongside existing street-benches in combination with the map of public toilets (sanitary points) in the central area of the City. These points provide resting point on the users’ path and are very important items for elderly people. They serve as a kind of safety assurance to move, as resting points for elderly people: they could take a pause and sit down to rest. It also increases encounters (social contact with others, with a nod to our other pilot, ‘Combatting Loneliness’). We’ll bring the public toilets and these walking routes together on one city map. Furthermore, rearrange/reallocate ‘lost’ street benches to places where they’ll be of better use. Social and health organisations could make use of these (or parts of) and promote them to their clients.
- Organise walking sessions, Start to Walk for elderly people, along these walking routes. A freelance professional who accompanies and gives advice to the seniors on how to exercise at the benches.
- Match these sessions with a range of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening movement exercises at the benches, ‘custom-built’ for the target population and approachable (fit-o-meter pocket edition).
- Last, the city will install pedals/treadles (serving as outside home-trainers with back support) on different locations in the city centre district.