Happy and independent isn´t doing things alone. It´s doing things yourself. What does it mean to get by on your own as well as possible when you are mentally ill or brain damaged? What is the correlation between happiness and independence? As we submerged us self in the task of reinventing the home support offer in Aalborg Municipality these were the questions we were faced with.
Redesigning the home support service in Aalborg was no easy task. Based on the wishes of the Elderly and Disabled Administration in Aalborg we set out to create an individually adapted and targeted service that could develop the citizen’s ability to master daily life.
However, as we soon realized, the life of citizens who depend on home support is filled with paradoxes: They need meaningful relations to others but can´t take care of themselves. Their diagnosis gives access to support but alienates them from their network. They want to get better, but are afraid of losing their support if they do. For many, the home support was their lifeline, their gatekeeper to the municipality and their best friend – leading us to coin the term ´the professional best friend´. Each citizen had very different preconditions and resources and therefore, it also differed greatly from citizen to citizen, what degree of independence they could realistically achieve.
Our initial question of ”how can we design a service that creates more independent and happy citizens” therefore soon became ”what is the link between happiness and independence?”