The Garraf County Council, in collaboration with other institutions in the social sector, has launched a strategic plan to improve the quality of life of elderly and dependent people throughout the county.

The Institute of Robotics for Dependency is one of the entities that make up the new project “Garraf, Comarca Cuidadora” coordinated by the Garraf County Council. One of the main objectives of the plan is to promote the future with new leadership of projects for the promotion of independent living for people in the region who are in a situation of dependency.

The past experience of cooperation between the county’s entities has led to the initiative “Garraf, Comarca Cuidadora”, which responds to the consensus that exists between the institutions of research and human development and they agree that this plan has to be one of the fundamental axes of development of the Garraf county.

The Institute of Robotics for Dependency plays an important role in the implementation of the “Garraf, Comarca Cuidadora” initiative. With “Comarca Cuidadora”, the region is positioning itself as a pioneering region in the care and attention to people. This is a collective project that brings together, for the first time, administrations, universities, entities and social and economic agents and that makes care one of the central axes of the county’s development.

We have developed a robotic solution for socio-health centres that automates functions such as emptying rubbish and moving clothes or food, allowing centres to spend more time caring for people. The IRD is currently working on bringing robotics into the home, using small social robots to enable people to stay at home for as long as possible.

The creation of this project takes into account the needs of the territory. Demographics are experiencing a general ageing of the population, both in Garraf and in Catalonia as a whole. At the Catalan level, people over 65 currently account for 19% of the population (according to Idescat data) but this is expected to increase, reaching 26% in 2040 and 29.4% in 2070.

Moreover, in terms of the employment sector, specialisation in active ageing and care for the elderly and dependent people is an opportunity for a region that bases a large part of its economy on the service sector. For this reason, the project aims to bring stability to the economic system and to achieve better quality and less temporary employment contracts.

This pioneering network of cooperative work, which positions the Garraf as a leading territory, was launched in 2018 thanks to European funding and an agreement between the Garraf County Council and the six town councils of the region: Vilanova i la Geltrú, Sant Pere de Ribes, Sitges, Cubelles, Canyelles and Olivella. The project was created with the aim of improving the quality of life of elderly and dependent people, although the plan plans to grow in the coming years and focus on the welfare and care of society in general.

The current plan is launched thanks to the past experience of managing and coordinating, together with the Garraf town councils, several projects linked to active ageing and dependent persons, including the so-called Territorial Specialisation and Competitiveness Projects (PECT), focused on the development of technologies to improve the quality of life of the elderly and dependent persons.

This cooperation formula has proven to be not only effective, but also capable of becoming a driving force for ideas and actions. For this reason, there is a joint desire to go further and set up new projects linked to care for people. In order to carry them out, the Consell Comarcal del Garraf will manage the demand for European funds and other national and state administrations.

This strategic project is being prepared to obtain funding from the European Union’s Next Generation Fund. This is a recovery plan for Europe, which aims to transform the challenges arising from the pandemic into an opportunity to boost the ecological transition and digital transformation. This fund is a great opportunity to carry out the projects resulting from the strategic plan.

The “Garraf, Comarca Cuidadora” project has prestigious collaborators of recognised solvency throughout the area of action, such as the Ave Maria Foundation; the TU-i-NOS Foundation; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Vilanova i la Geltrú); the Alt Penedès-Garraf Health Consortium; and the Neàpolis innovation agency, and is open to all entities that work to improve the quality of life of people.