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Haloo Päijät-Häme - friendship call service


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Exec. dir. Pirjo Nieminen in Japanese-Finnish seminar 10.09.13

Exec. dir. Pirjo Nieminen in Japanese-Finnish seminar 10.09.13

Published in: Health & Medicine, Travel

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  • 1. Päijät-Hämeen hyvinvointipalvelujen kehitys ry HALOO PÄIJÄT-HÄME –hanke Hämeenkatu 26 A 15140 Lahti 3.10.2013/PN The Haloo Päijät-Häme project Background Studies have shown that loneliness and insecurity cause health problems and that their cost to society is high. For an elderly person, loneliness may present an entirely new challenge in life, which not everyone is equipped to cope with. Faced with the challenge of coping with loneliness, an elderly person may need outside support. Loneliness is extremely difficult to solve, particularly in sparsely populated areas, where distances are long and there is no public transport. Maintaining social relationships and participating in community activities is hard for the elderly. Deterioration in physical ability and difficulties in moving around also prevent the elderly from participating in social activities and voluntary work. The feeling of being a necessary and valuable part of the community is also important to the elderly. In 2011, on the initiative of Päijänne-Leader, the association familiarised itself with the Friendly Call Service operating in Longford, Ireland. On the basis of this model, the Haloo Päijät-Häme project was developed for the Finnish operating environment. PalveluSantra PalveluSantra, a low-threshold information point for the elderly that has operated in the Päijät-Häme region since 2003, has registered an increase in the need for moral and mental support among its customers. The association that maintains PalveluSantra (Päijät-Hämeen hyvinvointipalvelujen kehitys ry), perceived the need to begin developing a mode of operation for contacting elderly people who are the most difficult to reach. The Haloo Päijät-Häme project The model for voluntary work created as part of the Haloo Päijät-Häme project enables the organisation of peer networks among elderly people who are not reached by other kinds of networks. The network is built in cooperation with regional actors (associations, parishes, the public sector). Its activities are adapted to meet the needs of each area and municipality/village. At a concrete level, the activities are composed of peer phone calls made by trained volunteers. They are given dedicated phones for calling their customers at times agreed in advance. The frequency of calls depends on the customer’s needs. Sometimes a short daily call is required to check on the customer, whereas others may wish to have a longer conversation once a week. In each case, a call plan is drawn up with a project employee, the customer and project partners. The service is free for customers. It is also free for the volunteers, since mobile phone and call costs are paid using funds allocated for this purpose as part of the project. Volunteer work is performed on
  • 2. Päijät-Hämeen hyvinvointipalvelujen kehitys ry HALOO PÄIJÄT-HÄME –hanke Hämeenkatu 26 A 15140 Lahti 3.10.2013/PN weekdays. Since the volunteers work in pairs, they are not as tied up by the activities as they might otherwise be and customers are guaranteed to receive their phone calls at the agreed times. The volunteers are trained for the activities in which they are engaged and supervisory activities are organised. If necessary, a project employee and employees of the PalveluSantra information point can be contacted at any time by the volunteers. One of the goals of the activities is to teach the elderly how to use modern communication technology. Some results The Haloo Päijät-Häme project aims at both improving customers’ quality of life and developing a new kind of model for voluntary work. Project activities postpone the use of more-intensive services by the elderly, thereby generating cost-savings for society. Through cooperation between the elderly, their relatives, the service system and volunteers, we can promote older people’s ability to function and enhance their quality of life. With the support of PalveluSantra, the Haloo Päijät-Häme project offers the elderly an opportunity for a chat and mental and moral support, through phone calls agreed in advance. The use of a phone lowers the threshold for communication, but is also a very personal and intimate way of keeping in touch. Customers who are isolated from other people for various reasons can control how much they reveal about themselves. Nevertheless, phone calls usually lead to a deeper and genuine friendship. On the phone, an elderly person can act without prejudices or preconceptions and be him/herself, which is important when living in a small town or village. Talking on the phone establishes a genuine presence and underlines the importance of listening. Even listening to a silent presence on the other end can be positive. The phone also enables many other types of activities, such as reading newspapers or books, reading poems, singing songs, reminiscing and telling stories from many years ago. Phone calls can provide concrete support for an elderly person’s daily life and well-being. It is good to inquire how the person is doing and check ordinary issues, such as have you remembered to eat, have you slept well, have you been out for a walk? The purpose of such questions is to ensure that the person has daily routines in place and to draw attention to them in a friendly manner. Routines can be discussed again in subsequent phone calls and the phone friend can be encouraged to pay more attention to his/her well- being and to be active. Another elderly person can also provide useful tips for daily routines, for example, new ways of falling asleep more easily, or cooking recipes. According to an expert assessment, regular phone calls made as part of the service prevent mild depression. Even a few phone calls have made a real impact. In one way or another, every customer’s life has been enlivened by the service. One of them took the rubbish out after having been homebound for a year, and another ventured out of the house to stand on the steps and admire the summery natural surroundings. After having been ill at home for over a year, a wheelchair patient participated in an event for the elderly and was like a new person afterwards. One person who has been through a stroke and lost the ability to speak began to remember words and even put together sentences. As a result of their important role, the volunteers experience a multitude of feelings of success and make great new friends. We have achieved our goal of engaging volunteers of various ages: at the time of writing, the oldest volunteer is 92 years old.
  • 3. Päijät-Hämeen hyvinvointipalvelujen kehitys ry HALOO PÄIJÄT-HÄME –hanke Hämeenkatu 26 A 15140 Lahti 3.10.2013/PN During the project, we will gather positive, successful experiences and turn them into a shared, happy story – a story of how phone calls costing a few euros can provide help and support, while also generating savings for society worth thousands of euros. This is also a story of how genuine caring and attention can help people to live in their own homes for as long as possible For more information: Pirjo Nieminen Executive Manager Päijät-Hämeen hyvinvointipalvelujenkehitys ry Hämeenkatu 26 A, 15140 Lahti Tiina Hast Project Worker Haloo Päijät-Häme - hanke Hämeenkatu 26 A, 15140 Lahti puh. 044 791 7878