Empowering Old Age Coop VoiVa participated in SOSTE, the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health, fair event 29 May 2018. SOSTE is a national umbrella organisation that gathers together 200 social and health NGO’s and dozens of other partner members in Finland. The representative of the Coop, Sirkka Perttu, told the participants about the on-going Erasmus+ project “Training to Identify and Support Older Victims of Abuse – TISOVA.
The fair event is a networking and training event targeted for social and health care associations and service providers. The presentations given in the fair were watched through Twitter by 411 viewers in total. Additional 469 viewers saw recordings of the presentations.
See the full programme of the event.
The Northern service area of Helsinki city is actively participating in the development work of the TISOVA project in Finland. The project steering group consists of representatives from various units of Kustaankartano and Syystie Comprehensive Service Centres, including short-term care, respite care, family carers’ support, home care, gerontological social work as well as voluntary work.
The steering group has discussed the characteristics of and challenges related to elder abuse that professionals encounter in their daily work. The professionals were able to identify real-life cases of violence and neglect. However, it was recognised that intervention and taking care of the safety of an older person in such cases often requires building a long-term professional relationship with the client. Talking about violet experiences and allowing oneself to receive help requires courage.
In cases where the perpetrator is also the main carer, the older person may be afraid if s/he will be able to survive without the assistance the perpetrator provides. Additionally, sometimes taking care of one’s children is seen as a higher priority than one’s own safety. Various symptoms caused by memory disorders may also lead to risky situations with one’s elderly spouse.
As part of the project in January 2018, an open discussion event was organised to the older people visiting the service centres. The response was positive. The theme of human rights turned out to be of particular interest for the older participants. Intrigued by the event, a number of older woman signed up for a group that gathered together three times during the spring. The women were highly interested in learning about international human rights, particularly from the older people’s perspective. Further themes of the group were independence, self-determination and the right to be heard. A topic was older women’s experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.
The steering group decided to organise a series of training targeting the health and social care professionals of their area. There were in total four training events in different parts of the Helsinki Northern service area. 55 professionals from home care and other units of the service centres participated in these events. The participants were worried about the safety of their older clients and identified abusive experiences and situations. A common concern raised relates to the challenges of working in elderly care.
Despite their hectic work schedules, the professionals take a genuine interest in their clients and their well-being. As part of the training events, a questionnaire was used to collect the experiences and views of the elderly care professionals. The collected data reflecting their educational needs is aimed to serve the final output of the TISOVA project, an interactive training handbook. Training will be provided also in the older women’s groups in autumn 2018.
The SAFE (A Safer Life for Older Women) project’s first newsletter has been published. The newsletter discusses the experiences and results of the Collaborative Learning Groups in the different partner countries. The participants of the Collaborative Learning Groups are social and health care professionals and teachers from public and private elderly care organisations. Through the help of professionals working with older people, the SAFE project aims to improve the knowledge and expertise on the topic of older women abuse, developing a specific and multi-professional Training Curriculum, a Policy Paper on prevention and intervention in case of violence and abuse against older women, and a Multi-Agency Set of Procedures. Read the full newsletter here.
On 6 April 2018 VoiVa participated in a Well-being Fair event organised at the Comprehensive Service Centre of Kustaankartano, Helsinki. The visitors received leaflets of the SAFE project, among other information related to elder abuse. Both the staff and older people showed interest towards the themes of safety and violence.
WHOSEFVA, a two-year project co-funded by the European Commission under the Daphne programme, aims to address the barriers and gaps which exist in healthcare settings to effectively support elderly women victims of abuse. The WHSOEFVA project will be implemented in six partner countries: Austria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia and the UK. The coordination of the project is conducted by Women’s Support and Information Centre in Estonia, with guidance and input from Finnish expert on elder abuse and VoiVa Coop’s chairwoman Sirkka Perttu.
One year after the launch and Kick Off Meeting of the WHOSEFVA Project in Greece, project partners gathered in Vienna, Austria from 1 -3 March 2018 to share and discuss key results and outputs of the project to date. Since the start of WHOSEFVA, a total of 14 Mutual Learning Workshops have taken place in the partner countries. In the process, partners have been able to inform, sensitize and strengthen 280 doctors, social workers, carers from social and health care and experts from victim protection institutions against violence against older women. In addition, WHOSEFVA has had the opportunity to speak with 67 women and men in the context of focus groups about their experiences of violence in old age. The results of both activities are very helpful in articulating concrete policy demands to end violence against older women – both at national and European level. Read more: the full press release.
Full information on the on-going projects and other activities of the Empowering Old Age Coop VoiVa will be published soon.