We are living longer and longer, and the number of older people is growing. It is estimated that, by 2060, there will be almost five million people over 65 in the Netherlands. On average, we have around ++We are getting older and olderA man who is sixty in 2040 will live for an average of 26 years. A sixty-year-old woman will live for almost 29 years. (Source: CBS Statistics Netherlands, 2018). to live after this. We want to spend the final years of our lives as meaningfully as possible, in good health and with control over our own lives. This may be at home, in a nursing home or in a completely different accommodation type. But how can we achieve this?
We know that we will have to live at home for longer, that more and more staff will be required in ++Nursing careNursing care in various forms of living. This can be care in a nursing home, (informal) care at home, care in a residential service area or another form of intensive care in the immediate vicinity., and that the care we require will become increasingly complex. We are on the threshold of a major social challenge. In fact, we are already in the middle of it. How can we move on from the current, sometimes rather sombre predictions to imagining and implementing a new, optimistic, desirable future?It’s timeHow can we move on from the current, sometimes rather sombre predictions to imagining and implementing a new, optimistic, desirable future? for radical new ideas about growing old and being old comfortably – including when we require care and support.
Radical ideas for a happier old age
For most of us, old age is something rather remote. We prefer not to think about it too much. All the same, it would be better if we thought now about the time when we ourselves, or our loved ones, require care and support. With the Living a Whole Life project, ++VandejongVisual identity and campaign
The Vandejong creative agency is the co-initiator of Living a Whole Life, and has developed an appealing visual identity and activating campaign. is embarking on a major quest for radical new ideas about growing old and being old comfortably, and will also test these ideas in practice. It’s about thinking differently and doing things differently in nursing care. With Living a Whole Life, we aim to initiate a positive movement around growing old, based on the idea that the final chapter of our lives also has value. We start with the capacity of older peopleWe appeal to everyone who wants to contribute to one of the most important social challenges of our time. themselves, of healthcare professionals, informal carers, of everyone who wishes to contribute to one of the most important social challenges of our time. Because after all, we will all grow old. How do we want to – and how can we – grow old well? And what does this demand of care institutions, politics and society at large?
We’re building a network of ambassadors and influencers who will help to put topics on the agenda, to open closed doors, to forge relevant coalitions and deploy their influence and expertise. We will share all lessons, inspiration and results at levenlangleven.nu (website still in development).
Value, quality and space for experiment
There is an urgent need to organiseEveryone with a good idea has the opportunity to really put it into practice. The most promising ideas among the submissions will be selected for participation in a pioneers’ programme. nursing care differently, because the care system is under enormous pressure. Everyone wants elderly care to be more effective, efficient and also more focused on the individual, with fewer rules and the needs of people put first. The government wants us to live independently for longer. However, by the time we require nursing care, because we are no longer able to live at home, we often have very substantial care needs. This means the transition from living at home to a nursing home is a major change. On paper, the new ++The systemAs set out in the Elderly Care Pact, and laws such as the WLZ (Long-term Care Act) and WMO (Social Support Act) etc. is much more efficient and effective than in practice.
Carrying on in the same way as before appears to be unsustainable. We see a future in which ++Revalue old agePhilosopher Joep Dohmen: “As we grow old, we can ripen and deepen further, we can become more who we are. Let us revalue old age: it is the richest phase of our lives.”, in which conversations about quality of life play a leading role (instead of rigid protocols) and in which there is enough space for experiment. An innovative vision for the final phase of our lives is required, and we need to think in a fundamentally ++Other cultures “Growing old and being old” is experienced differently in different cultures. In Ghana, they use the verb “nyin”, which means “growing”, for “becoming old”. In their language, they say “I have grown” instead of “I am old”. Growing has positive connotations, you learn and you become wiser. In this way, it also emphasises the quality and appreciation of the experience of “being old”. You take on another position, because you have more life experience. about the care and support required to make a high quality of life possible.
A call to everyone: how do you want to grow old?
Via a national ++KL challengesSince 2002, KL has organised various challenges. These offer innovators and society a platform where we can work together on growth, innovation and knowledge exchange. One example is the challenge for pioneering teachers in education. , we call on ++Don’t speak Dutch?You can still apply! However, we do recommend that you find a Dutch partner to translate everything for you, as the application needs to be written in Dutch. Also, we aim to reach non-native inhabitants of the Netherlands through our ambassadors and jury members.’ to submit an innovative idea or smart plan for living a whole life via levenlangleven.nu. Because life doesn’t stop when you grow old, and it’s better to think about your old age now. We’re looking for ideas and plans that may be radically different to the way nursing care is currently organised. Large or small ideas, fantasies, plans that are already being developed or that are perhaps even partially realised. Imagine how you would like to grow old yourself if you require care and support, and what would be important to you. What would your life look like? What would you need?
Everyone with a good idea has the opportunity to really put it into practice. The most promising ideas among the submissions will be selected for participation in a pioneers’ programme (deadline: 20 March 2020). The participants will develop their ideas into a plan that can be tested in practice with the help of coaching, a development budget and guidance.
Are you a care pioneer who has had a groundbreaking idea for some time, or are you just someone with a radically innovative idea for how nursing care can change, or about how you would like to grow old yourself? Keep an eye on the website so that you’ll know straight away once the challenge starts. Who knows, millions of people in the Netherlands could enjoy a happier old age thanks to your idea!
UPDATE: The deadline to compete for budget and professional guidance was 20 March 2020. But keep sending good ideas for a happy old age! The Living a Whole Life movement has only just started and your idea could inspire others. We will regularly share those gems in the coming years.
Living a Whole Life is sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
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Our population is ageing and becoming increasingly diverse. The healthcare system must continuously innovate to keep serving those who need it. Very often, innovation is simply an improvement to the existing system, and also an order “from above”. Citizens and professionals have little involvement in this process. What a shame! This wastes a great deal of valuable knowledge and experience. KL wishes to use the potential of innovators from across society to achieve good, future-proof and accessible healthcare.