Training Models for Formal Caregivers of Elderly Persons at Home: Studies and Gaps

Training Models for Formal Caregivers of Elderly Persons at Home: Studies and Gaps

Lucília Mateus Nunes (Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, Portugal) and Andreia Ferreri Cerqueira (Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9818-3.ch017

Abstract

The concern with the training models stems from our activity as teachers and researchers, recognizing the scenario of aging of the population, the need for policies and social and health responses, as well as the high relevance of training professionals to provide care for people in their homes and in the community. Thus, the authors organize the framework into topics that allow them to understand what underlies analysis and, of course, the proposals made at the end of the chapter. After presenting the national framework and a scooping review about what training models exist for professionals who provide care for the elderly at home, the authors discuss the findings and the lack of training models for professionals has become clear. So, supported by findings, they propose a training model, focusing in professional caregivers for elderly at home, and explore some trends related to technology support in the main objective of caring for and keeping the elderly persons in their homes, a kind of “caring-in-place” in a philosophy of aging-in-place.
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Framework

Concerns with the training models stems from our activity as teachers and researchers, in the recognition of aging population scenario, the need for policies and social and health responses, as well as the high relevance of training professionals to provide care to elderly people in their homes and in the community. We organize the framework into topics that allow understanding the analysis and the proposals we make at the end of the chapter.

Aging and Elderly Population

We are all aware of the aging population. The data that have been released accentuate the increase in average life expectancy and longevity, so that, of course, the number of older people is increasing, in a trend that is expected to increase. Portugal is the 4th country in the European Union (in 28 countries) with the highest percentage of older people (European Commission, Eurostat, 2015), surpassed only by Greece, Germany and Italy. It is also worth noting the increase in the population aged 80 or over. In 1971, this population segment represented 1.43% of the resident population in Portugal, representing 5.84% in 2015 (PORDATA, 2015).

These data reflect one of the most important demographic trends of our century - in 2018, the aging rate in Portugal stands at 153.2% against 98.8% in the year 2000 (PORDATA, 2018) - which means that there is a greater number of elderly population when compared to the youth population, which has a strong impact on society.

It is understandable and is known “the common desire of most elderly and family members to stay in their own home as long as possible, avoiding or postponing institutionalization to the limit.” (Carvalho, 2009, p. 6). Putting in another way, most older people would rather grow old, be cared and die at home if they could choose (Gomes, Sarmento, Ferreira & Higginson, 2013).

Active and healthy aging is defined “as the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and safety, for improving the quality of life as people age as well as the process of developing and maintaining functional capacity, which contributes for the well-being of the elderly, the functional capacity being the result of the interaction of the person's intrinsic capacities (physical and mental) with the environment” (World Health Organization, 2015, p.6).

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