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Above all, older people need safety, trust and information - The Cohousing project

Ljubljana, 14 February - At the end of last year, the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning launched its Cohousing project, whose aim is to assess the living situation of older people and find a framework for a suitable pilot project for our environment to provide quality living choices for older people. Events are organised in urban municipalities to present cohousing models, experiences and ideas and to obtain a response from interested parties. The Cohousing website has also been launched. The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning will promote discussion with older people and their relatives on social networks and in the next phase of the project, the setting up of 11 "live" information points is planned.

The partners in the project are the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Slovenian Federation of Pensioners’ Organisations, the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, the Housing Fund of the Pension and Disability Insurance, and the associations of local communities (i.e. the Association of Urban Municipalities of Slovenia, the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia, and the Association of Municipalities of Slovenia), whose representatives are also members of the Working Group on Older People established last year by Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning Irena Majcen.

 
At the end of last year the Cohousing project team visited Maribor, Murska Sobota, Koper and Celje. Round tables were organised under the title "Slovenia develops new possibilities for quality living for older people", where panellists from various fields related to this issue and other participants shared their thoughts and experiences.

 

Slovenia’s population is ageing


Slovenia’s population is ageing; in 2013 the share of persons aged over 65 was more than 17%, and the share of persons aged 80 and over is also increasing. According to the latest data published by the European Commission, the share of the older population (65 and over) in Slovenia will increase by 25% by 2030.


In her speech, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning Irena Majcen emphasised that it is the responsibility of the whole of society to care for older people and that she considers the discussion among various stakeholders with the common goal to provide older people with a suitable and safe living environment to be an appropriate approach. "It is extremely important that we let older people tell us their wishes, needs and concerns, as we do not want to make decisions for them. On the basis of this information, we will develop a pilot project for the quality living of older people and promote such initiatives with national policies and legislation. Thus Slovenia will be placed on the map of countries that actively care for their older population," she said at the first presentation of the Cohousing project in Maribor.

 
These events have shown that older people are careful in their life decisions and trust the tested solutions most. Therefore, the dissemination of information, dialogue and exchange of experience, which build trust and lead to new housing models, including cohousing, are very important. In many past studies and projects of the Slovenian Federation of Pensioners’ Organisations, cohousing has been highlighted as the most suitable living arrangement for older people in Slovenia. It is also one of the priorities of the National Housing Programme.


Discussions at the events organised within the project are and will be the basis for developing policies and supporting measures, so that Slovenia will make a decisive step towards improving the living conditions of its older people within the goals of the national programme.

 

Advantages of cohousing

 
Cohousing, an arrangement whereby several older persons or persons of different generations live together as a community, has many advantages, including:

  • higher quality of life in older age,
  • lower living costs,
  • a solution to the housing problem,
  • friendlier living conditions than in institutions,
  • less loneliness,
  • mutual assistance in everyday chores,
  • a greater feeling of home, dignity, belonging, safety and usefulness,
  • the opportunity to have a say in one’s own life,
  • easier provision of organised assistance, and
  • more socialising and new friendships.

 
This year, the team of the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and partners in the Cohousing project have already visited the urban municipalities of Slovenj Gradec, Kranj, Ptuj and Velenje. In the coming days they will also visit Novo Mesto, Nova Gorica and Ljubljana. In the next phase, permanent information points will be set up; these will help to facilitate the search for the right answers to questions regarding the options for quality living for older people and provide information with the assistance of experts in this field.

 
For more information on the project see www.sobivamo.si.

 

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