The largest cause of sensory impairments is the aging process with over 60s. Rising life expectancy and increasing numbers of older people in the population in Europe means a growing number of individuals are affected by visual and hearing impairments. Thus, raising general awareness of problems and potential solutions is essential to maximising the individual quality of life and minimising social isolation.
A key challenge related to the quality of life of older people with impairments is the training and skills of the professionals working in care services addressed for this specific target group. Many of the organisations participating in SENSNET are members of any of the European networks ENVITER and HIPEN that are supporting the project and that represent organisations of professionals and experts in sensory impairments in 21 EU countries. Through surveys, events, workshops and their daily work both European networks and the partners in SENSNET have collected information about the concrete learning needs of the professionals working with ageing people with sensory impairments.
The European Center in Training for Employment – ECTE, as a partner and main contributor in SENSNET project is participating in the implementation of the following activities:
- Design of the Methodological guide for the learning programme- Development of the training materials for professionals working with ageing people with hearing and/or visual impairments will be created in such area as, lighting and ergonomics and accessibility in society and in the daily life (access to culture and access to information and communication media)
- Creation of online learning platform for professionals working with ageing people with hearing and visual impairments.- Training courses for professionals.
The most important results of the project are:
- Creation of the European Academy that provides training for professionals working with ageing people with visual and/or hearing impairments,
- Creation of a European learning community of professionals working with ageing people with visual and/or hearing impairments,
- Increased the knowledge base of the partners to have a more accurate awareness of professionals’ learning needs and priorities,
Improved skills of professionals involved in the trainings,
- Creation a comprehensive training strategy for professionals working with ageing people with hearing and visual impairments, etc.
The project involves seven partners from seven different European countries: Spain, Greece, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Bulgaria and United Kingdom. Members of the consortium have vast experience and expertise in visual and hearing impairments area and work daily with ageing people.The main target group of the project are workers at day care centres for older people, geriatric social workers, care workers for seniors, therapists for seniors, GPs, nurses, home-visiting care workers and other professionals that provide services to support ageing people with sensory impairments. The expected impact on the target groups is to improve their occupational qualification and professional skills in sensory impairments area, especially related to hearing and visual problems. All of them will be a part of European learning community of professionals working with ageing people with visual and/or hearing impairments.
The final beneficiaries are ageing people over 60 with visual and/or hearing impairments. SENSNET will focus not only on older people with severe impairments, but it will address all the ageing population, whatever the severity of sensory impairment, but for whom the sensory impairment is becoming a problem in daily life, for the autonomy and the quality of life. Due to the SENSNET project, ageing people with sensory impairments will be able to use better quality services provided by professionals mentioned above. As long-term benefits can be mentioned, among others, the creation of the European Academy that provide training for professionals working with ageing people with visual and/or hearing impairments and creation of the European learning community of these professionals.