The Dutch pilot aims to reduce loneliness and social exclusion of older adults ageing independently at home. Loneliness and social exclusion have a big impact on the wellbeing of older adults. These are major issues in today’s individualistic society where families are smaller and the average distance between parents and children is greater. Many older adults become lonely when they lose their mobility and cannot move around freely anymore.
To reach out to older adults and reduce loneliness and social exclusion we will build on and enrich the services of the PlusBus of the National Foundation for the Elderly. This is a community transport service with over 100 busses across the Netherlands. It focusses on older adults who would like to have more social contacts and go out (more often). The PlusBus facilitates grocery shopping, but also cultural and social activities such as summer days at the beach and museum visits.
We will focus on two topics in particular: Community building and Happy, healthy ageing. These topics will be closely connected to cater to the diverse needs of older adults. For example, we intend to match people based on their shared interest in healthy eating. We will offer both coaching and matchmaking and will use technology to support our services. Moreover, the autonomy of older adults will be a key element of our services. It is up to the older adults if and how they will use them and we will involve older adults in the project from the start.
The Dutch pilot will be organized around a number of local NFE PlusBus initiatives that cater to older people in their community. There are over one hundred of these initiatives across the Netherlands.