Marcel Andino Velez worked as a journalist and then deputy director of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. For several years, he had been dividing his time between professional work and caring for his parents, who suffered from several chronic diseases. “My father suffered from Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart failure. He passed away in the spring of 2020. My mother suffered from deep depression – says Marcel. At some point he realized that Someone could replace him at the museum, but there is no one to help him professionally and systematically take care of his parents’ health.
The scale of needs and problems that arose meant that I had to take care of my parents full time. We are not quite ready for this. Neither through school nor through upbringing. We don’t realize that halfway through our lives, we may have to give up our plans or career and take care of our parents. Personally, I treated it as a new project that needed to be implemented. It turned out to be a multidisciplinary project, requiring knowledge from several areas at once – says Marcel Andino-Velez.
Care project and implementation
In 2019, he decided to transfer the experience gained and create a younger brother. A leading and little-known service on the Polish market for family coordination of elderly care. Marcel got the idea from the United States. There, the service was already developed in the 70s, and it is known as Elderly care managementThat is, the elderly care department, and the elderly care coordinator are mentioned there “Professional relative”A professional family member.
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What exactly is Little Brother providing? The coordinator accompanies patients during medical visits, visits them at home, supervises medication administration, and develops and implements a care plan. He looks for doctors, and in crisis situations he is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week under the emergency number. Utilities are billed by the hour. Total cost 115 PLN.
The service, which seemed more and more necessary, did not conquer Poland. We operate locally in Warsaw. My idea was to provide families with a professional service that would solve health, safety and well-being problems for an elderly person in the family. This has really worked for seniors who have kids outside. The children of our regular customers live outside Poland and entrust us with tasks that they cannot do themselves because of the distance – says Marcel Andino Velez.
admit that The company failed to build a customer base whose children would live in Poland. – In my opinion, this is due to the presence of a mental barrier in the elderly. I am middle aged and cater to people my age who want to take care of their parents, but these parents are from a different era. They are afraid of new things, they do not understand them, they do not accept them. Marcel says such a coordinator is not in the arsenal of roles they know.
problems in the near future
However, younger brother counseling is becoming increasingly popular. Over the years, Marcel has gained experience caring for sick parents. She is a certified medical provider and care coordinator. As of June 2022, he is also Vice President of the Mazowieckie Region of the Polish Gerontological Society. He shares his knowledge with others.
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People who are going through a crisis usually contact me. They need advice on how to find their way in the system, but also mental support. As of 2021, a time of recovery from the pandemic, HR departments are starting to take an interest in consultations. They invited me to meetings with the staff. He says the problem of elderly care is emerging.
According to Marcel Coordinator services have recently begun to appear in Poland. It’s just a matter of time and awareness – He says.
In recent years, a process of increasing social aging has been observed in Poland. The proportion of elderly people in the Polish population is increasing systematically. At the end of 2021, the number of people aged 60 and over was 9.7 million, up 0.2% from the previous year. Meanwhile, as a society, we are not ready to take care of elderly patients.
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Poland gives us the illusion that the market will meet all our needs. We make a career, we use special medical packages, we seem to avoid contact with reality, but our relatives’ problems mean that we suddenly have to learn this generic system. It should be treated with more humility. We believe we will achieve it as long as we do. And in the case of difficult diseases, multiple diseases, because they are often whole complexes of diseases, they can overwhelm us all – Marcel Andino Velez believes.
As he says, nowhere else in the world is the problem of an aging population and the challenges facing families. – It is important to ensure social security, not only health and safety, but also Social performance, so that these people are not locked into four walls – says Marcel Andino Velez.
What can be done in this regard in Poland? – An error occurred in Warsaw. The Alzheimer’s Center is built in Aleja Wilanowska, the most inaccessible place, it’s hard to get there by car, you have to walk a long way from the subway, the tram doesn’t come. One in every 3 million people. Marcel Andino Vélez believes that in each area, besides the office, the cultural center, it is best to benefit from various forms of assistance. In his opinion, residential communities can also be used to care for the elderly. – They can choose people who need support and involve, for example, young pensioners who will provide this support, – she says.
The problem is burning. The population is aging, and the number of people suffering from dementia is increasing. According to calculations by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), which was founded in 1984, someone develops some form of dementia every 3 seconds in the world, which is 1 second faster than in 2015. It is estimated that Today, only 15 to 21 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in the world, in Poland this number has already exceeded 500,000, and the same number may remain undiagnosed. Each patient must be cared for by at least one person at all times. In 2050, 131.5 million people will suffer from various types of dementia. The disease most often affects people over 65 years of age.
Elderly care is not only difficult but also costly. And it’s not just about drugs. It is difficult to obtain public assistance judged by the special services. These become more expensive.
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