One of the greatest challenges currently facing Europe is how best to adapt EU policies and strategies to meet the demands associated with demographic change. As the EU faces this challenge its headline strategies such as the EU 2020 Strategy are heavily influenced by these prospects. The European Commission (EC) is taking proactive measures to tackle the future challenges posed by an ageing population by prioritizing initiatives that will contribute to building a healthy and active population for the future. In order to achieve this, the importance of health and being healthy must be promoted throughout the lifecourse, starting with investment in early years and continuing right through into old age. The European Commission has identified active and healthy ageing as a major societal challenge common to all European countries, and an area which presents considerable potential for Europe to lead the world in providing innovative responses to this challenge.
The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing is a pilot initiative which brings together key stakeholders (end users, public authorities, industry); all actors in the innovation cycle, from research to adoption (adaptation), along with those engaged in standardisation and regulation. The Partnership provides these actors with a forum in which they can cooperate, united around a common vision that values older people and their contribution to society, identify and overcome potential innovations barriers and mobilise instruments.The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing will pursue a triple win for Europe:
- enabling EU citizens to lead healthy, active and independent lives while ageing;
- improving the sustainability and efficiency of social and health care systems;
- boosting and improving the competitiveness of the markets for innovative products and services, responding to the ageing challenge at both EU and global level, thus creating new opportunities for businesses.
This will be realised in the three areas of prevention and health promotion, care and cure, and active and independent living of elderly people. The overarching target of this pilot partnership will be to increase the average healthy lifespan by two years by 2020.
EuroHealthNet is an active partner of the European Innovation Partnership on Healthy and Active Ageing (EIP-AHA). We are part of the group working on Action Group D4: Innovation for age-friendly buildings, cities and environments. The D4 Action Group is comprised of local and regional authorities from across the EU, European NGOs, technology providers, research centres, and SMEs. The Action Group seeks to devise strategies for adapting EU environments to suit the needs of the ageing population.
For the 2016-2018 period, the D4 AG overall objective was to: 'contribute to create a more inclusive society, communities and R&D systems across Europe by empowering older people to actively participate in the creation of age-friendly environments through scaled-up inclusive solutions.'
Four broad domain areas have been identified as key to reaching this objective:
1. Innovative employment policies and the silver economy
2. Technologies and social networks; innovation, accessibility and universal design
3. Age-Friendly Tourism and its impact
4. Inclusive Smart Cities
For more information on EIP-AHA please click here.
For more information on the Action Group D4, please click here.
EuroHealthNet has an important role in creating the links with other EU policy areas and in promoting WHO guidelines and evidence based policy recommendations. We support the creation of an EU covenant on demographic change and enable the necessary political and technical framework to bring together local and regional authorities and other stakeholders across the EU. EuroHealthNet identifies smart and innovative initiatives to facilitate exchanges and disseminate knowledge and information which support active and healthy ageing and the development of age-friendly environments.
The European Commission also published a guide on excellent innovation for ageing. It aims to take you on a special journey through Europe: a tour of regions, cities and communities where you can see innovation for active and healthy ageing in real life. Now we know where to go when we need inspiring real-life examples of active and healthy ageing.
To access the guide, click here.