Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Community care of the elderly in Slovenia

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.03.00  Social sciences  Sociology   

Code Science Field
S210  Social sciences  Sociology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
Elderly, community, typology of care, quality of care, municipalities, mixed methods design
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (14)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  05735  PhD Majda Černič Istenič  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  418 
2.  23425  PhD Maša Filipovič Hrast  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  381 
3.  15257  PhD Valentina Hlebec  Sociology  Head  2011 - 2014  627 
4.  15248  PhD Sabina Jelenc Krašovec  Educational studies  Researcher  2011 - 2014  476 
5.  32353  Jasna Jugovič    Technical associate  2012 
6.  28323  PhD Matic Kavčič  Sociology  Researcher  2012 - 2014  125 
7.  11849  PhD Dušanka Knežević Hočevar  Anthropology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  342 
8.  06354  PhD Sonja Kump  Educational studies  Researcher  2011 - 2014  419 
9.  25842  PhD Jana Mali  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2011 - 2014  800 
10.  09975  PhD Srna Mandič  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  439 
11.  34363  PhD Anja Mohorko  Sociology  Junior researcher  2012 - 2014  13 
12.  32324  Maja Mrzel  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  60 
13.  36854  Boštjan Mur    Technical associate  2014  12 
14.  12775  PhD Milivoja Šircelj  Economics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  86 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,836 
2.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,348 
3.  0591  University of Ljubljana, Faculty for Social Work  Ljubljana  1627147  10,302 
4.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,112 
One of main the challenges facing modern societies involves demographic changes and population ageing and, consequently, the organisation of care for the elderly. In the project we address these issues at the level of local communities. It is here that the majority of care for the elderly is organised and carried out.   The main provider of care for the elderly in both Slovenia and abroad is the family, as proven by numerous researches. Community care importantly supplements the work of the family, as shown by (Muramatsu and Campbell, 2002). Further, many elderly in Slovenia live alone (see Mandič and Cirman 2006, Filipovič and Hlebec 2006) and as a consequence rely heavily on community care. However, local communities must not be observed as homogeneous, even in a small country such as Slovenia. There are several differences at the local level regarding how formal care of the elderly is organised (e.g. the existence of home care services) and how other services are developed (e.g. homes for the elderly, intergenerational centres, nursing home care, NGOs and interpersonal assistance) (Hlebec 2010, Jelenc Krašovec and Kump 2009, Kump and Jelenc Krašovec 2010, Filipovič et al. 2005, Filipovič 2007). In the project we will attempt to answer two research questions: 1. What is the typology of care in the community in Slovenia? 2. In which ways (combinations of actors and services) is care provided in individual communities and what is the quality of such care? We are interested in how the quality of care for the elderly is ensured in individual community types and whether there are differences in that regard. We presume that the development of community services has been manifold and we expect to find several types associated with particular characteristics of communities (their size, level of urbanisation and economic development and tradition). We are also interested in discovering whether there are differences in the quality of care for the elderly in individual types of community care or whether the same quality of care can be reached by different means. In our research we use a contemporary research design that integrates quantitative and qualitative methods. More specifically, it includes the successive use of quantitative and qualitative methods (Creswell and Plano, 2007). This research design starts with the collection and analysis of quantitative data on local communities, i.e. which types of elderly care exist in individual communities, and what are the regional differences. This wider approach will then be narrowed by primary research data based on case studies. We will base our research on an already developed typology (Hlebec 2010) in which five types of the development of home care services for the elderly are distinguished. Therefore, we will analyse five local communities in Slovenia where we will perform interviews and focus groups with main actors. We will analyse all aspects of care; from the perspective of both providers and users (not only the elderly but also their family members). We will analyse the situation and quality of care, the differences and specifics of local areas along with the potential and limitations of the provision of care. The choice of different local communities will enable a discovery of the potential strengths and weaknesses of these communities and ways to overcome the weaknesses in ensuring quality of care for the elderly.
Significance for science
The project plays a significant role in the development of the sociology of ageing, social work with the elderly and the evaluation of work with the elderly. Scientific results of the project include: - the development of a typology of community care in Slovenia; - identifying the history of the development of community care (and what influences the development of its individual types); - an analysis of the quality of community care of the elderly; and - Forming an analytical framework for studies of care of the elderly in rural communities along with the identification of indicators and formation of a typology Researching the quality of care for older people in the community has so far been relatively partial and therefore cannot be compared, with consequences of this including the obstruction of scientific and professional development in the field of care for older people. We created a scientific base for the work of different professionals in the field of care for older people. The project’s scientific results provide a basis for the development of different professional methods and techniques in the field of community care for older people. The combined quantitative-qualitative approach in studying community care for old people has proved greater explanatory power of comprehensive investigation of the issue. In turn, the shaping of quantitative typology based on available data-bases enables the analysis of trends of community care on the state and municipality level. Yet the risks of employment of such an approach are related to (non)updated databases, quality of available data or insufficient (although mandatory by the Act) informing about the state of the art on the field by individual actors (e.g. the centres of social work, the homes for old people, etc.). Qualitative approach, however, in some degree resolves such risks. Moreover, it upgrades the quantitatively shaped typology by clarifying the mechanism of performing the community care on the field that cannot be revealed from the existing databases. Qualitative research has significantly upgraded quantitative typology with identification of several forms of formal and informal community care, causes of (non)collaboration among the actors of community care, causes of renouncement of institutional forms of care in some communities (mostly rural communities), and still preferred role of a family as care-provider for old family members in countryside. Considering the very limited systematic research on the needs and the offer of education and learning for older people, the results of our research represent added value in the stock of new knowledge in the frame of scientific discipline Educational Gerontology. Along with this, the project brings new knowledge in under-researched fields of gerontology. The research on education and learning of the elderly contributes to the so far limited discussion as it reflects a lack of methodological rigour and conceptual clarity. On the basis of theoretical discussions we focused on the link of the elderly's education with concepts such as communities for all ages, social learning, social cohesiveness, community development and community learning. The researchers analysed possibilities and incentives for the education of elderly people in the local community and their inclusion in social activities. We focused on the impact of education on the quality of life and, in this sense our findings, contributed to the currently underexplored influences of education on active ageing. During the project we presented the findings to the professional public in the form of workshops and lectures, participated with papers at national and international conferences, and publicised the findings in scientific journals, thereby adding to the greater recognition of Slovenian research at home and abroad.
Significance for the country
The Operational Program for the implementation of the European Cohesion Policy during the period 2014-2020 (2014) defines the establishment of long-term care as Slovenia’s main task in contributing to the economic development of the EU (EUROPE 2020 - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth). The project results are directly useful for establishing long-term care. We analysed the extent of community care and its quality, differences and specifics of municipalities in Slovenia, coupled with the potential for and obstacles to the cohesive functioning of communities and delivering community care to the elderly. The focus on different localities enabled the comparison and identification of the key strengths and weaknesses of these environments. The project’s findings are relevant for the development of targeted social policy – the preparation of long-term care legislation. That policy will be able to adapt to different types of community care and, as a consequence, enable the sustainability of such care. We determined how and where Slovenian development documents relating to the strategy of social protection and social integration need to be upgraded in terms of providing equal opportunities of support for the elderly. The final goal is to ensure a higher quality of life for the elderly and their family members along with intergenerational solidarity and social cohesion. Already the relevant ministries and their representatives recognized the relevance of our project and asked for published results in forms of monographs in Slovenian language. Furthermore, the education of older people is becoming important with the implementation of lifelong learning strategies, yet the education policy for older adults in Slovenia remains weak. It is mainly focused on their free-time activities and aid to older adults which is sometimes – in the treatment of older adults’ problems due to their age – supported by education. Because the educational goals for older adults are different to the educational goals for other age groups, since they are closely connected to personal and social and less with cognitive and professional goals, a special strategy for developing the educational possibilities for older adults needs to be established. We designed models of various educational projects that prove to be the most suitable for selected communities. These models not only include the understanding of older adults as a “repository of knowledge” but also the dynamic possibility of their role. Social work in homes for older people in Slovenia has special role since we have extremely institutionally oriented care for the older people. At the beginning of the project we were familiar with a shift in the dynamics of the orientation of the homes from a medical to a social one and with a different model of social work in medically or socially-oriented homes. The results of the project show that social work in homes for the older people is the holder of changes in institutional care, community care facilitator and motivator for the development of integrated care for older people in the community. The growing share of older people in society often has a negative connotation and is presented as a threat to existing systems. The reason for such an understanding rests partly on the undeveloped community care for older people. The project contributes to changes in understandings of old age and ageing in society. Older people are not a burden on society, but provide society with possibilities for changing the value of old age – they are a source of knowledge, employment, intergenerational co-operation; they enable the development of science and professional skills. With the project we moved beyond the prevailing negative views on old age and demonstrate the positive effects of an ageing society. We took special care to publish also in Slovenian language to share our findings with relevant local stakeholders and policy makers.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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