Understanding the Needs of Older People: Shifting Toward More Community Based Responses
Revija za Socijalnu Politiku
The article presents the experience of researching the needs of older people in a way that includes their perspective during the research process as well as in the planning of responses to their everyday needs. The findings presented in the paper are part of a larger research study that aimed to discover the needs of older people in the Municipality of Ljubljana as the basis for planning a strategy and responses to the needs of older people in the city. The research findings point out the
... icance of researching needs in a way that enables needs to be embedded into an everyday context. To understand the context of older people's needs, the following five areas were explored in in-depth interviews: position of older people in society, their social and health context, types of risks they face as people in old age, and the assessment of existing services for older people. In researching the needs, the premise that needs are a socially constructed concept was followed, thus expressing them and discussing them would be the first step to older people getting heard, to having a voice in planning services and for the planners to gain the knowledge from older people's experiences, to come closer to users' worlds and their immediate experiences. The results demonstrate that older people expressed most varieties of needs when talking about daily routines and the necessary chores of the day, while the greatest worries were conveyed about changes in the future, mostly related to conditions that maintain an independent life. The wish of older people is to be able to keep their independent life in the community and maintain the possibility to combine a mix of help. key words: needs, research, social work, strength perspective, everyday life. Rev. soc. polit., god. 21, br. 2, str. 133-160, Zagreb 2014.