Establishment of a health network for culturally sensitive action in the Offenbach district

All regions in Germany are affected by an aging society. In the Offenbach district, where the average of fellow citizens with a migration background is far above the Hessian average, two social phenomena are beginning to be linked: on the one hand, the general aging of society and on the other hand the growing need for additional health and social care for older people future citizens with a migration background. This presents the German health and social system with a new challenge.

These two factors together will lead to widespread health care problems for both migrants and senior citizens in rural areas. Their supply is not guaranteed with the current funds, neither in the medium term nor in the long term. It is important to remedy this quickly and sustainably.

Health care is a human right

Although there are now some general practitioners who are themselves migrants or have a migrant background, this is only very rarely the case within specialists. In clinics, too, the care of people with a migration background is often difficult, not only because of a lack of language skills, seniors often also do not understand the health system and the necessary preventive measures sufficiently. Since health care is a human right, one cannot wait for a successful integration here. This also applies to the new challenge posed by the large number of new immigrants. The same applies to the increasing number of senior citizens: maintaining health is becoming increasingly difficult for senior citizens because of the decreasing mobility with increasing age. It is important to find supportive ways that make more effective health care possible.

All the important actors

For this reason, the Turkish-German Health Foundation e. V. founded a network on behalf of the Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration in the Offenbach district to determine the need for culturally sensitive action in the district. On the one hand, it is about better, and often for the first time, linking communal bodies, such as immigration councils or integration services, and the bodies that are responsible for senior citizens, such as the aging control center, but also about closer cooperation between migrant self-organizations and to create care facilities. The aim is to build a network that brings together all the key players in the desired improved intercultural maintenance in the Offenbach district and creates a space for collaboration.

Attention to inter­culturism

On the other hand, so-called health mentors are to be trained for the non-medical care of senior citizens. During the training, special attention is paid to interulturalism. In addition to providing low-threshold medical care (blood pressure measurements, blood sugar tests, monitoring tablet intake …), the health mentors should also represent a person of trust who run small errands with the elderly, chat with them, accompany them to the doctors and thus ensure better social integration. It is important that the health mentors be bilingual; Many senior citizens with dementia lose their German vocabulary and can only express themselves in their mother tongue. Here the health mentors become the mouthpiece of the people they care for.

Contact: TDG Foundation