University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 2142-2146
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The accompaniment of elderly people is one of the areas in society in need of unselfish support from volunteers. We have often seen that disabled persons can provide support, encouragement and understanding to people in need.
The Gureak workshops comprise a group of intellectually disabled persons with a high degree of unemployment. Gureak is currently in the process of building and developing a range of meaningful activities aimed at personal development and social participation, which provides an opportunity for new experimentation and greater opportunities among this sector of volunteers.

The aim of this study is to describe a pilot project involving intellectually impaired persons from the association Gureak. The participants will serve as volunteers for the accompaniment of elderly people at a gerontology centre with support and collaboration from Nagusilan, a senior volunteer association. The specific aims of the study are to explore the interest and potential among disabled persons in providing support for other people with care-taking needs; determining the participants' ability to carry out volunteer accompaniment activities for the elderly; taking part in controlled elderly support experiences; and to design and validate a training module adapted to disabled volunteers working with the elderly that could later to used in other services for senior citizens.

After making contact with the centres and individuals involved in the study, the disabled persons will be given a training course on the elderly which covers psychosocial aspects, as well as social and communication skills. At the same time, the senior volunteer from Nagusilan will receive a course in working with disabled persons. The course consists of 20 hours of theoretical and practical training for Gureak and 10 hours for Nagusilan, in addition to on-site practice at the gerontology centre. The training course was designed at the University of the Basque Country Faculty of Psychology.
The first phase of training will involve 9 individuals. Subsequently, 2 or 3 people from Gureak and 2 or 3 from Nagusilan will be selected for the pilot study, which will run for approximately 8 months (1 hour per week, 32 hours). The part that takes place on-site at the centre will be supported by Gureak technical personnel. Gureak staff will provide Nagusilan volunteers with guidance on the disabled persons and the disabled participants will have a Gureak staff member as a point of reference.

The entire process will be monitored and assessed on an ongoing basis by all of the parties involved (disabled individuals from Gureak, senior volunteers from Nagusilan, gerontology centre) to analyse the project and introduce any changes considered necessary at any time.
Once the on-site project is finished and the evaluations submitted by Gureak, Nagusilan and the gerontology centre, an assessment will be completed on the results and future viability of the experience.
Retired people, volunteers.