The beautiful countryside of Spain’s Castile and León region may seem like the perfect retirement spot. However, living in rural areas can isolate older citizens and people who require consistent support from health services, preventing them from getting the continuous care they need.
The 'RuralCare’ project – funded by the EU’s Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme – is using an innovative approach to bring long-term, sustainable, and individualised care to those who need it across the region. The project uses a new form of assistance that guarantees equal access to long-term care services, focussing on assisting women with care needs.
María del Pilar Rodríguez Irimia is among those to benefit from the project, ‘I never thought I would be so lucky… I encourage other people to apply to participate in the RuralCare project because, since we have personal assistance, we are more protected.’
One of Rural Care’s aims is to test a personalised model of affordable, high quality, long-term care based on users’ needs and aspirations. The care is preventative, proactive, and adaptive to individuals’ needs at any stage of their lives. The project also gathers evidence about the benefits of this way of caregiving – particularly in terms of economic efficiency – with the aim of applying the model across the region.
RuralCare brings together local and regional Spanish authorities, public and non-profit service providers, and local communities to make the care-giving service responsive to the individual needs of its beneficiaries. The project also employs diverse and highly trained care professionals who share best practices to provide a more comprehensive service than could otherwise be achieved.
The project works at a national level with IMSERSO, Spain’s National Institute for Older People, so that policymakers are involved from the get-go in ensuring that people with care needs have a good standard of health, comfort, and happiness. RuralCare has assembled a network of professional, highly skilled carers, local and regional organisations, and policymakers to bring vital care to those who need it. This work is vital to guaranteeing that the future of care in Spain is person-centred, efficient, dignified, and ratified in policy. Most importantly, the project’s care network has enabled vulnerable people in remote villages to take control of their lives and continue living in their own homes with support from their caregivers.
‘RuralCare’ – integrated social and health care in the home at rural scale (2020-2023)
Coordinator: Social Services Management of Castilla y León
Co-Beneficiaries: European Social Network; Fundacion Personas; Diputación Provincial de Valladolid; Universidad de Valladolid.