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Role of the elderly volunteers in integrated care


Sviatlana Anatsko ,

Belarus Red Cross Society, BY
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Aliaksandra Kalesnikovich,

Belarus Red Cross Society, BY
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Tatyana Svetlovich,

Belarus Red Cross Society, BY
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Tatyana Haplichnik,

Swiss Red Cross, SZ
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Yulia Matusevich

Belarus Red Cross Society, BY
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The population of Belarus is 9,504 people, 21% of them aged 60 or older. In Belarus there are 734,412 lonely and living alone elderly and disabled people. About 315,000 of them are potentially in need of personalized medico-social home care.

Belarus has a young age of retirement 60 – women, 65 - men, people do not realize their social potential.

Short description of practice change implemented: BRC nurses provide medico-social home care services to improve the quality of life of elderly people. The BRC is setting up initiative groups IG of older people who play an important role as volunteers of the visiting nurses service: they have a free time, understand the needs of the elderly, have big life experience. Problems addressed: provision of care and psychosocial support to those in need, giving an opportunity for the elderly to realize their social potential

Aim and theory of change: Reducing the vulnerability of older people by increasing availability of services for older people in need of medico-social assistance. Increasing social participation of the elderly and their functional capabilities.

Targeted population: People aged 60 years and older:

432 elderly volunteers - members of 23 volunteer's IG of the elderly.

More than 900 elderly people with disability who need support in daily living.

Stakeholders: Belarus Red Cross, social institutions, local authorities.

Timeline: 2006 – 2017

Highlights: A paradigm shift in the role of older people in society. The attitude is not as to consumers, but as to service providers.

IG, as a form of volunteer activity. The association of elderly volunteers in IG has advantages over individual volunteering, as group members receive support from the group.

A change in the focus of volunteer activity in the care of young people to the elderly who have a resource of time, effort, understanding of the problem.

Sustainability: Work experience and motivation of groups for 10 years.

8 resource IG of older people ensuring methodological support to the new groups.

In the next 3 years, a program will be implemented in which older people are seen as the main participants in volunteering at home.

Active participation is a strategic direction of the BRC.

Transferability: BRC's partners from the social sphere study the experience of the BRC in working with the elderly and adopt best practices.

Conclusions: Advantages of mobilization of elderly for home care in the form of formation of IG:

the elderly have life experience, which they bring during the care and support of the group's activities group members - retired doctors, lawyers, workers, etc.

 have enough time

a high level of responsibility, usually associated with previous work experience

an understanding of the problems of the elderly

the possibility of reducing costs for volunteer management due to greater stability of groups

Discussions: Formalization of the home-based care volunteers’ system.

Prevention and combating older volunteers’ burnout.

Lessons learned:

Possibilities: high potential of attracting older people as volunteers in care in comparison with youth.

Difficulties: in low financial support for the elderly they need financial reinforcement of their activities. 

How to Cite: Anatsko S, Kalesnikovich A, Svetlovich T, Haplichnik T, Matusevich Y. Role of the elderly volunteers in integrated care. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2018;18(s2):353. DOI:
Published on 23 Oct 2018.


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