The demographic development in Austria shows an increase in older and a decrease in younger people. An aging society faces various socio-political challenges. Due to this demographic shift health promoting measures aimed at older persons gain particular importance. 

The project “Growing old together in great health” focuses on persons aged 61 and older and endeavours to boost their involvement and participation in local activities and issues. Also, health-promoting activities are to be developed for this target group. The project also contributes to bringing the older population in touch with central figures in the municipalities to further promote an exchange between people.

Oberwart was selected because of its demographic structure, it features a high portion of older persons. Also, in comparison to other Austrian region, Oberwart is disadvantaged in regard to social, economic and health-related indices. (Schnabel et al., 2012)

Forschung Burgenland, Hilfswerk Burgenland and Volkshilfe Burgenland cooperate to carry out the project in the following municipalities:

  • Bad Tatzmannsdorf
  • Bernstein
  • Litzelsdorf
  • Oberschützen
  • Oberwart
  • Pinkafeld
  • Rechnitz
  • Wolfau
 

The project is funded by Fonds Gesundes Österreich, the national competence and funding centre for health. The execution of the project is based on well-founded scientific theory (e.g. the Brößkamp-Stone network model, Laverak’s parallel-tracking and social capital metering according to Gehmacher) and methods (e.g. comprehensive literary research, interviews). Special attention is paid to enabling the target group to actively contribute and form the project in all phases.     

As far as project contents is concerned: the development and execution of health promoting activities is done in cooperation with the target group. These activities centre around:

  • Communal activities (e.g. singing, day trips, gymnastics, dancing, health chats)
  • Inter-generational activities (e.g. cooking and doing handicraft with children and youth or intergeneration festivities)
  • Volunteering activities (e.g. nannies or ‘mannies’ – male nannies)
  • “Senior Agents“-activities (e.g. consulting and support in questions regarding retirement, shopping service, support for administrative duties or visiting a doctor’s)
  • Learning support activities (e.g. mobile phone or computer courses)
 

All project activities are carefully monitored and documented and made available to the general public to allow a potential transfer and rollout across additional communities. The project report shall contain lessons learned and calls for action for future communal health projects. 

Cooperation partners and funding agencies

Cooperation partners

Funding agency

Project team and project manager

Project manager

Project team

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