Bulgaria's demography continues to deteriorate, and our country is about to fall into the group of hyper-starving societies.
By the end of 2016 Bulgaria is on the verge of crossing this threshold - 20.7% of people over the age of 65, according to data from the National Statistical Institute. By comparison, in 2010, the ratio was 17.7%. According to the Institute, by 2030, the proportion will rise to over 30%.
At the same time, the country is losing young people from the migratory flow. Each second emigrant is aged between 20 and 39, equivalent to just over 16.3 thousand in 2016
These data show that the problem of home care of the increasingly aging population will deepen. Contrary to this trend, there is the possibility of accelerating the introduction of innovations in the field of home care to allow more people to receive medical surveillance (tele-medicine, tele-care), medical services and the storage and processing of medical information e-health) or support for home help (smart homes) by fewer doctors, assistants, other healthcare professionals, and helpers thanks to new technologies.
In order to facilitate support for the development of these services and related products, to encourage their development and deployment through the available public funds, 8 partners from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Slovenia, Romania, Lithuania, Hungary, Portugal and the Czech Republic the HoCare project - "Innovative solutions for home care by strengthening cooperation in regional innovation chains".
The leading partner is the Nicosia Development Agency (ANEL) of Cyprus. The Bulgarian partner is the Business Agency Association with a budget of EUR 124,399.
The project lasts four years, from April 2016 to March 2020, within the framework of the INTERREG EUROPE PROGRAM 2014-2020, financed by the European Regional Development Fund and co-financed by the Bulgarian national budget. The main objective of the INTERREG EUROPE 2014-2020 program is to continue the process of experience sharing and policy-making between public authorities to improve the implementation of Objective 1 policies and programs: "Investing for Growth and Jobs".
The program allows public bodies and non-profit organizations involved in regional development across Europe to exchange practices and ideas for public policy implementation, thus finding solutions to improve their strategies for the benefit of citizens, in line with the Europe 2020 priorities for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The HoCare project has been cited as a very successful example for the whole program. It is concerned with seeking solutions to the problems of an aging population. It aims to improve the implementation of regional development policies and programs that support the delivery of innovation by participants in regional innovation chains.
The partners drew up 8 regional research in the area of research and innovation in the home care sector and cooperation on the model of the "quadruple spiral", further discussed during 3 international thematic workshops.
33 good practices, suitable for transfer between regions, were selected, which allowed the formulation of guidelines for new policies in the field of home care. Each partner, including the Business Agency Association, has produced three thematic reports and three reports on the transfer of home care policies.
The local partners worked closely with various stakeholders from different spheres of home care, as well as with the contracting authorities of the Structural Funds in the partner countries.
The Bulgarian partner also drafted an Action Plan to improve the conditions for the implementation of innovative home improvement projects that will lead to specific procedures proposals from the Indicative Annual Work Program for 2018 of the Innovation and Competitiveness OP 2014- 2020 targeting innovation. Efforts were also made to add additional priority strands in the Thematic Area "Informatics and ICT" in the Innovative Strategy for Intelligent Specialization of the Republic of Bulgaria 2014-2020 related to long-term care.
The project continues for two more years, in which efforts will be continued to encourage the development of innovations in the field of home care and social services.