April 4, 2023

Marco Inzitari in the ARA diary with Xavier Bosch

Marco Inzitari, promoter of BALL, has been interviewed by journalist Xavier Bosch, from Diari ARA.

Dr. Marco Inzitari (Florence, 1976) has lived in Catalonia for fifteen years. Currently, he is director of Integrated Care and research at the Pere Virgili Health Park, as head of the Aging Research Group at the Vall de Hebron Research Institute and, more theoretically, as a professor of health sciences at the UOC. He now promotes BALL (Barcelona Aging coLLaboratory), the first living lab with older people as protagonists of the decisions.

Xavier Bosch poses the expected question: “What is BALL?” “The Barcelona Aging coLLaboratory is a platform for older people to be at the center and can give their opinion on how they want new services or new products. We like that you want to suggest dancing, because it is precisely a platform for collaboration, an ecosystem with different actors, all involved with old age or aging”, comments Marco.

The stigmata of old age

“There is still a certain stigma towards old age, as a less important part of life, of less value, for a part of society. On the other hand, given that we live and will live longer, all this has to be rethought. Above all, we have to rethink it with older people, who can tell us what they can give to society, which is a lot, and what active role they can play”.

By 2050, one in three people will be over 65 years old

Aging in Catalonia continues unchecked, at double the world level. “There will be between 12% and 15% of people who will be over 85 years old. Catalonia is a very long-lived country. This is a very positive fact. We think that at the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancy in Spain was about 30 or so years. Today we reach almost 86 years of age in women”, comments Marco.

Some of the concerns present in society are chronic diseases, dependency or the fact that at some point there will not be enough caregivers for all older people. Inzitari recognizes that “very often, professional caregivers are immigrants and that, like older people, they are very undignified, because they are poorly trained and poorly recognized on a social and salary scale. We will have to re-dignify all of this, because it is a vital profession”.

Is loneliness a problem?

“It is a problem when the person perceives loneliness as a problem. We know that loneliness and lack of social relationships is a determinant of poor health. There are people who are fine alone, in quotes, and maintain a certain life and certain relationships, and many people stay at home without wanting to and for them it is a problem. In this case, having them be at home, but somehow connected, would be the first thing we should do. And, second, if they cannot be at home and must go to a residence, it must be in the best possible condition”.

The current residence model for seniors does not meet the space expectations in which society aspires to live from the age of 75/80 or when they develop some degree of dependency. There are people who say: “If residences were different from how they are now…