Healthy ageing is about "optimising opportunities for good health, so that older people can take an active part in society and enjoy an independent and high quality of life" (Swedish Institute of Public Health 2006 - A Challenge for Europe).
Ageing is not necessarily a burden, and it does not necessarily decrease a person's ability to contribute to society: older people can make valuable and important contributions to society, and enjoy a high quality of life. But this depends on treating ageing as an opportunity rather than a burden, and taking a so-called 'assets-based approach'.
Only by concentrating on what people can do, rather than what they cannot, can strategies and political decisions be taken which help create the right conditions to promote healthy behaviours amongst older people and provide the necessary opportunities for regular physical activity, healthy diets, fulfilling social relations, participation in meaningful activities and financial security.
By showcasing practical examples of health promotion interventions, identifying initiatives in the European Union, and making available key resources about healthy ageing, we hope that healthyageing.eu builds awareness of the steps required to make healthy ageing a reality.
EuroHealthNet also set up an internal technical working group with its members on healthy ageing aiming at gathering intelligence, exchanging and implementing projects.
EuroHealthNet is particularly involved in projects linked to healthy ageing though its participation in the EU funded project, IROHLA - 'Intervention Research On Health Literacy among Ageing population' and though its support to the AFE-INNOVNET network.
The AFE-INNOVNET network"s overarching goal is to set up a large EU wide community of local and regional authorities and other relevant stakeholders across the EU who want to work together to find smart and innovative evidence based solutions to support active and healthy ageing and develop age-friendly environments across the EU.
Creating age-friendly environments is one of the most effective approaches to respond to demographic change. AFE-INNOVNET aims at mobilising a EU-wide community of local and regional authorities and other stakeholders to support the scaling-up of innovative solutions for age-friendly environments to support active and healthy ageing across Europe.
A strong collaboration exists with WHO thanks to the involvement of WHO-Europe in an advisory capacity into AFE-INNOVNET. In addition to that the technical proposal 'Age-Friendly Environments in Europe' conducted by WHO-Europe with the funding support of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion is very complementary to the work to be developed by AFE-INNOVNET consortium.