Cities in action: Supporting older residents in Besiktas


The wellbeing initiative in Besiktas provides older residents with vital services at the touch of a button.

Besiktas, a municipality in Turkey, has a high proportion of older residents. This is more than twice that of the Turkish national average, thanks to a high quality of life and easy access to social and healthcare services. In order to respond to the specific needs of its older population, Besiktas launched its 'wellbeing service' in 2013. 

The service was set up on the basis of a survey carried out among older residents. The survey intended to assess older people's primary needs. Many of those identified through the survey relate to services that can be easily found outside the home, but can become a daily challenge for people who are less mobile. The initiative now provides a full range of services in the home, including cleaning, personal care, home repairs and catering. 

There is also a social centre to help older residents get out and about and meet new people. This is particularly important as the survey found that older residents of Besiktas leave their homes for just 55 minutes a day on average. 

The range of services provided through the initiative is complemented by a 'social alarm' device. It is simple for older residents to apply to have one of these devices in their home. It allows them to contact a call centre in emergency, which in turn organises an ambulance and will inform residents. They can also use it to call for the services available as part of the wellbeing scheme, including catering and hairdressing. Finally, it can be used to contact relatives without the need to pick up a phone. It can be accessed anywhere around the home, as users can be provided with wristbands or medallions in case the device is out of reach. 

The initiative is open to all residents over 75, as well as people who are disavantaged or have disabilities. The social centre is open to anyone over 65, and is currently used by around 40 people. 

The wellbeing service is important for making older residents in Besiktas feel comfortable in their own homes and live more independently. 

Read more about the wellbeing service in our latest case study, available at the link on the left.