E-care to help elderly live at home longer

Ljubljana – The government is launching an e-care project that will allow elderly and disabled people to live safely at home longer by providing them with around-the clock link to an assistance centre and health professionals.

The project, which is being funded from EU grants, is an important step toward the phased implementation of the long-term care act, passed late last year, Zvone Černač, the minister of development and European cohesion policy, told reporters on Tuesday.

A total of 5,000 elderly, disabled and people with chronic conditions across the country are to benefit from the service free of charge until 30 September 2023.

The EUR 3 million call to provide the service has been won by Telekom Slovenije in cooperation with the Pensioners’ Association (ZDUS). The telecommunications provider will link the first beneficiaries to the assistance centre in mid-April.

Those who register for the e-care service at the free telephone number 080 12 13 or by email to eoskrba@telekom will get a free care phone and a bracelet with an assistance call button.

They will also receive a mobile movement detector on a pendant, a SIM card with a mobile package providing them with unlimited calls and data transfer for the e-care service, plus free technical assistance and maintenance.

The users will be able to call the assistance centre by pressing the call button on their free phone or bracelet that they are meant to carry on their wrist all the time, or alternatively press the button on the movement detector.

In case of a fall, the movement detector makes a call to the assistance centre automatically.

Eligible for the service are over 65-year-olds who live most of the time alone, or those whose underlying chronic conditions make them vulnerable to coronavirus.

Also eligible are the disabled whose conditions can make them fall or can face mishaps due to a decline in cognitive abilities as a result of dementia.

Health Ministry State Secretary Alenka Forte noted that e-care would reduce the risk of transmission of communicable diseases and alleviate the burden on providers of informal care and on health and social care employees.

The funds for the free service are being provided from the European Social Fund and React-EU funds.