Barcelona Telecare Program, Spain


The number of old people living alone in cities is steadily increasing and Barcelona is not an exception. These people are generally at risk of suffering home accidents without being noticed or experiencing social exclusion or isolation.

It is estimated that around 90.000 people are in this situation in Barcelona.

In this context an important challenge for the policy makers is to increase elderly people well-being and improve their living standards.


The new Barcelona City Council telecare program was set up in 2013 to replace the state sponsored telecare program.

The objective of this program is to provide users with a landline device and a telematic device (remote control unit). The remote control unit is a small device carried around the user’s neck and its main function is to get the landline device to call the telecare service in case the user has mobility problems. Once the button on the unit is pressed, the landline device calls the telecare professionals, alerting them of the emergency. Telecare professionals answer any calls, evaluate the situation and arrange a response. This response may involve sending a mobile telecare unit to the user’s home.

SDG Impact:

SDG 1: No poverty. The telecare service helps to detect situations of risk of poverty particularly in elderly people living alone and with reduced mobility and social contact.   

SDG 3: Good health and well-being. The service provides a service that guarantees a fast reaction in case of emergency. Users’ mental health also improved thanks to the sense of safety that telecare gave them and the regular calls that users receive from telecare professionals.

SDG 5: Gender equality. Women have generally longer life expectancy; it is for this reason than a majority of the users of this public service is women, therefore improving gender equality.

SDG 9: Industry, innovation & infrastructures. The use of ICT in the devices can improve the efficiency of healthcare services to people, in this case of elderly people. The capacity of private companies to innovate in new technology helps to find solutions to problems faced by society.

SDG 10: Reduced inequalities. The service is provided free of charge by Barcelona City council to those people over 75 years old and living alone. That free of service clearly reduces the inequality of the elderly.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities. The elderly that are in risk of social exclusions can be involved in their communities, therefore improving a more sustainable community.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals. Barcelona City Council has benefited from the know-how, technology and international experience provided by the private sector

Compliance with UNECE People-first PPP criteria:

The project:

  • Impacts positively on elderly people well-being
  • Improves user’s mental health thanks to the sense of safety that telecare gave them and the regular contact form the telecare firm.


PPPs such as the telecare services are crucial to maintain the quality of life and the cohesion and sustainability of communities where fragile citizens with risk of social exclusion, such as lonely elderly people, live.


More information


This case study aspires to be People-first Public-Private Partnerships project and is published as received from the proponents.