Toolkit should help caregivers build connections with older people

Thursday 11 May 2023 - The international Erasmus+ project SEE ME, coordinated by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), has developed a practical toolkit that teaches professionals, carers and volunteers to see the person behind an older person in need of care. Older people have dreams, talents and wishes separate from their care needs. By actively involving older people, SEE ME aims to improve the quality of care and services they receive.

When you think of older people, how do you picture them? Do you see them as people with skills, ideas and stories? Or just as people who need care and are dependent on others? Unfortunately, that second image is still too prevalent in healthcare. In society, the focus is mainly on their medical and support needs.

The SEE ME project aims to promote the social inclusion of older people in society by addressing stereotypes and teaching caregivers how to recognise their talents and social needs.

SEE ME has developed a free toolkit for anyone who works with older people: professionals in residential care centres or home care settings, informal carers and volunteers in neighbourhood projects or associations. The training, with five modules lasting three hours each and featuring creative exercises and methodologies, shows caregivers how they can discover the talents, needs and wishes of older people. One of the exercises is the talent scan, which maps an older person’s talents, so carers can work with and enhance them. For example: Anne, who is almost blind due to an eye disease, can enlarge and read out a text via her computer, and so help neighbours with their correspondence.

The complete toolkit can be downloaded free here.

Building connections with older people together

SEE ME is a social inclusion project financed by the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 programme. To develop the toolkit, an international multidisciplinary team of three research centres and three professional organisations joined forces: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), the Stichting Active Ageing and Universiteit voor Humanistiek (Netherlands), University of Molise (Italy), Büro für berufliche Bildungsplanung and the Matia Foundation (Spain). The toolkit was also extensively tested and evaluated by six associate partners in the field: Accolage (Belgium), Compartijn and September Care and Stichting Humanitas Rotterdam (Netherlands), Don Carlo Pistilli (Italy), Grafschafter Diakonie and Grandes Amigos (Spain).

Erasmus+ is the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport in Europe. It has an estimated budget of ¤26.2 billion. The 2021-2027 programme emphasises the green and digital transition, promoting youth participation in democratic life and social inclusion