In pursuit of active ageing
Beatriz Santamaría and Eider Etxebarria have created Bizipoz, a project with the goal of helping people over 55 years of age stay active and train them in health, economics, and the emotional field…
At one point, everyone gets older and at a certain age there is a risk of forgetting everything about oneself and isolating oneself from the changes happening around them.
Being aware of the importance of not excluding this group from society, two young people from Gipuzkoa, Beatriz Santamaría and Eider Etxeberria, have created Bizipoz (it is a Euskera word game that means “live happy”) aimed at promoting the empowerment of elderly people to have an active process of ageing. Thanks to its importance and social impact, the project was awarded the Prize Jóvenes Emprendedores Sociales 2018 (Social Young Entrepreneurs 2018) supported by Banco Santander through Santander Universidades, along with Universidad Europea de Madrid, UEM.
Everything started in 2015, when Beatriz and Eider studied Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation in the University of Mondragón. From the beginning, they wanted to do something to improve the life of elderly people.
The last year of their studies, they jointly submitted a final degree project that two years later became Bizipoz. “We spoke about it from heart. We had internalized the idea of helping elderly people improve their lives”, Eider said.
The two young people have engraved in their minds a sentence summarizing what is to come: “Living more does not mean living better”. Effectively, life expectancy has increased in the past years and it will continue to. For this reason, we must teach older people how to live better.
And that is the goal of Bizipoz. In this way, through training programs of active ageing, people over 55 years of age learn health, economy, new technologies and emotional intelligence to take part in the evolution of society. To achieve it, they count on an important network of expert collaborators who, reputedly, “are the pillar of their work”.
From the very first moment, this was the Bizipoz goal, even though now it has implemented a program of “friendly cities” to facilitate the mobility and accessibility of elderly people in cities, besides collaborating with councils to invest in courses or lectures to empower them.
Likewise, another important factor is that of retirement. For this reason, they started to work with other companies to design programs facilitating the transition to this stage of life so that these people acquire specific resources to feel active and useful after they stop working.
In fact, the profile of elderly people from cities where Bizipoz works, varies. Their needs are different. However, the groups usually do the same in every place: they focus especially on active practices and dynamics that last up to a year in groups made up of 15-20 individuals.
However, the most common profile is that of a 55-65 year old individual, early retired, and many homemakers. “They are proactive people and thanks to this new door to ageing, they have opened their eyes to a more hopeful reality and find a space”, Beatriz and Eider said.
Bizipoz is aimed at people over 55 years of age because international studies and reports refer to “elderly people” as this age. “We cannot start to train people with a specific age. The idea is highlighting prevention, that people know step by step new healthy habits or internalize concepts of active ageing. Everything is based on prevention, so we start to train people over 55 years of age”they share.
The success of Bizipoz is based on the nonstop reinventing and adapting of itself to social changes. The project was born, first, to have a specific role but now covers companies, social services and associations. “We can do always new things for the sake of an active ageing. Our goal is leading the way, moving ourselves forward to avoid investing in dependence”, they said.
Besides offering this service as a consequence of the lack of action to face the current and future demographic problem, vocation is what makes Beatriz and Eider the best. One out of four people in Spain are over 55 years of age and this figure will reach 35% in 2050.
Thanks to the immense work of Bizipoz, they achieved very important recognitions. For example, it is included in the list of the 30 projects of people under 30 years with bigger innovating potential and capability to transform their sector, elaborated by the magazine Forbes.
What Beatriz and Eider value the most is the difference in the elderly people between the starting and the finishing moments of the courses. “These people come here as the last escape because they fall in a black hole as a consequence of retirement. They look at the mirror and feel happier. According to the testimonies and the results, what we do is worthwhile and so we will go on working on it”, they ended.