Fit and healthy towards old age! « Ljudska univerza Jesenice

Fit and healthy towards old age!


The main objective of the project is to promote health among older residents of Upper Carniola region. The population is aging, in Upper Carniola number of people over 55, who are the target group of the project, has already reached one-third of the population. The main cause for chronic diseases occurrence, which reduce the number of healthy years, despite increasing life expectancy, is an unhealthy lifestyle. The project includes the holistic approach to solving this problem. In the project the Program for maintenance of good health for elderly will be developed and implemented in the form of education, training sessions and workshops. The project will provide the introduction of changes in the lifestyle of elderly on mental, physical and sprirtual level. Involment of older people in the project will be based on an individual approach and will cosider the needs and restrictions of each individual. Program for maintenance of good health for elderly will be carried out at seven different locations, thereby ensuring easier access for elderly.




In the framework of this project we will develop and test Program for maintainace of good health for elderly, which will be divided into four modules:


  • 1. Education for healthy lifestyle of elderly

According to the National Institute of Public Health Slovenia (NIPH), chronic illnesses are the most frequent illnesses of elderly, and consequently a big health and financial burden to the community. That’s why this module will be based on raising awareness and assistance to establish a healthy lifestyle in this age group. 


  • 2. Physical and mental training to support healthy lifestyle

According to the National Institute of Public Health Slovenia, musculoskeletal injuries are very frequent among the population over 65, so regular and therapeutic exercises will be organized in the program, which will allow and support better flexibility, preservation of the power of elderly and provide them an active lifestyle. At the same time the program will work on maintaining mental health. Based on NIPH research, mental health is a significant problem among the elderly population, where the research precede dementia and depressive disorders. Workshops will be organized for training the mind, preserving cognitive abilities, memory skills, relaxation and meditation


  • 3. Practical workshops for healthy eating

Research indicates that among older people about 30 % of them are obese, more than half of them are overweight, about 45 % of the elderly consume only three meals a day, about one third of them four meals a day, just a little more than 15 % of them have five or more meals a day. That shows the bad eating habits of the elderly, which will be resolved in the workshops. Workshops will consist of theoretical knowledge (importance of the consumption of healthy food, food groups …) and practical skills (cooking, self-produced food, healthy food arrangement for the elderly … 


  • 4. Workshops for making sense of life in old age

Since in today’s society the death is a taboo and therefore increases the fear of it, we will organize workshops of conscious living and personal growth, which eliminate the fear of death and make people awaking life sense of the third age.


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The project includes all municipalities, associations of pensioners, elderly care nursing homes and adult education organizations working in the Upper Carniola region, which means that we will establish a network that provides efficient, professional and sustainable implementation of the Program for maintenance of good health for elderly.



We will prepare a program and implement training for 14 promoters of health among the elderly, who will then implement the identification and motivation of elderly for enroll into the program. The program will enroll 210 elderly participants – 30 from each of the seven municipalities involved. With registered individuals members of the Expert project group will implemented individual interviews and prepared individual plans for maintaing  health – 210 individual plans. Adult education staff will then prepare 7 operational plans for implementation of the program, which will take place at 7 different locations. Within six months we will performed 840 hours of programming – in each municipality 120 hours. The program will be held once a week for 5 hours collectively in a group of at least 10 participants. Implementation of all 4 modules of the program, share of each module will be determined according to the needs of participants involved in the particular municipality. Participants will be involved in the entire program or individual modules/content.  Adult education staff will coordinate the implementation of the program and evaluate the results .


The project addresses the problem of unhealthy lifestyle, which is reflected in the form of chronic disease in the target group of older people. Chronic diseases among the adult population in Slovenia represent a major health and financial burden which increases with ageing.


According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia in 2011 elderly people represented 16.6 % of the population. According to the latest population projections in 2060 every third inhabitant of Slovenia will be in this age group. The most important health problems among the elderly over 65 years in Slovenia according to the National Institute of Public Health Slovenia (dr. Jožica Maučec Zakotnik) are: cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, cancer, diabetes and musculoskeletal injuries.


More than half of the elderly in this age group have high blood pressure, about 14 % of them have diabetes and about 6 % of them had already suffered a heart attack. More than half of all new cancer patients are older than 65 years. Among this age group there is a higher risk of injuries. The injuries that occur at home and in their free time are most common cause of death. Because of the falls every year die about 320 elderly people.


Mental health is also a significant problem of the elderly population, most common are dementia and depressive disorders. The latter is facing 20 % of older people. The occurrence of depression is for 50 % more frequent among older people with chronic diseases. This is especially alarming according to the fact that many older people with depression do not seek medical help and therefore depression often goes unrecognized and untreated.


Depression is one of the main risk factor for suicide attempts, which are in Slovenia twice as common among the elderly than among the population under 64 years. Suicide risk is also higher among men.


That’s why is even more important that depression and other mental problems are detected on time. Because of their early recognition treatment is more effective. Untreated depression worsens teratment proces and outcomes of other chronic illnesses.

Among the elderly, about 30 % of people are obese and more than half of them overweight. 


About 45 % of the elderly consume only three meals a day, about one third of them four meals a day, just a little more than 15 % of them have five or more meals a day.

Poverty among seniors is an important factor for their social exclusion and access to health care. 18.3 % of them are living below the poverty line, the poverty level is particularly high among older women.

Data from study, which is based on European Structural HLY indicator, Healthy life years and life expectancy at age 65 in Slovenia from 2005 to 2011, shows that life expectancy is increasing but healthy life (unobstructed) years are shrinking. Indicator HLY is based on the limitations of the individual during normal operations and therefore represents life expectancy without disability. It represents expected remaining years lived from a particular age without long-term activity limitation.



The project includes holistic approach to solving the health problems among the target group of older people, because according to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia in 2011 elderly people represented 16.6 % of the population but in 2060 every third person will be in this age group.


The project contributes to an overall active and healthy aging, since it includes three dimensions of the human being: body, mind and spirit. Workshops, training and health care education within the 3FIT project are covering all these three dimensions.


This is important for improvement of the quality of life of older citizens. We will give them a chance to – despite the ageing – contribute to the society, and at the same time we will reduce the unsustainable pressure on health care systems.

Involving older people in the project will be based on an individual approach, because the structure of the elderly is extremely heterogeneous. Because life expectancy increases, healthy years (no restrictions on normal activities due to long term illness or long-term health problems) in life are shrinking, more and more elderly will need individual programs for health maintenance.


Individual approach will be carried out as counselling interview with various experts (multidisciplinary approach). The experts will recommend changes in lifestyle of individual (mutual agreement). They will consider all particular limitations and restrictions of elderly and they will also assist them with the implementation of recommended changes.


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