Compassionate Communities in the Basque Country

This research has confirmed that there are many people in the Basque Country who are alone, sick or with a very limited family and social network in situations of dependency, palliative care, end of life, death and bereavement. These situations are amplified by the population aging process and by the emergency situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.


This complex nature of the problems mentioned prevents an exclusively health solution or one linked to existing public services. The "compassionate communities" as an alternative, try to build a complementary system to the existing services that is decentralized and with the possibility of self-organization.



This report has identified more than a hundred community initiatives that attempt to complement existing social services. These initiatives are valued very positively by people and families who find themselves living in situations of loneliness, advanced illness or death. There is abundant scientific evidence on the value of social support networks. For this reason, "compassionate communities" can become the new social network that accompanies lonely or sick people during the last stage of life.



The report has focused on better understanding the perceptions and motivations of the people who drive these communities and the individuals and families who claim their support. This information can be very useful to make possible a real connection between the efforts of the different administrations and the social initiatives.

Entornos compasivos en Euskadi

The implementation of initiatives for compassionate environments in the Basque Country has already taken its first steps in what is called the Network of Compassionate Communities of the Basque Country. Gasteiz, Getxo, Santurtzi, Donostia, Zarautz, Tolosa, Orio, Bidasoa, Elgoibar and Sopelana are some of these municipalities. The objective of these projects is to "open spaces to make the invisible visible", as well as to provide the community with resources to make it easier for people who are in the last stage of life to be accompanied, as well as encouraging the creation of neighborhood networks and tackling unwanted loneliness.