The overarching target of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, discussed at the EU top level policy dialogues and launched in 2011 (following EC Council Recom. Paper SEC 737, dt 7 June, 2011 and SEC Communication 1161 on EUrope 2020 Flagship Initiatives, 6 October, 2010), is to increase the healthy life-span of European citizens by two years by 2020. Active ageing is promoted by the European Commission and it evokes the idea of longer activity, with a higher retirement age and working practices adapted to the age of the employee.
Europe is the fastest ageing region in the world and life expectancy and trends in healthy ageing differ greatly between countries. Firstly, this rapid change will cause labour policies to have to adapt themselves to the elderly workers. The second problem that arises is the health costs of both elderly workers and pensioners due to rising life expectancies. A third problem will be the urban services that will also require to be adapted to the ageing citizens. On the other hand, the ageing population will also be the engine of the suffering economies. That age group can also be seen as a A class consumer/customer group. They will be ready to pay for their well being. Another factor that will be studies will be the total social inclusion of the target group.
The partner institutions will present the policies and services for the ageing population and pensioners in their countries, will learn their demands and then compare the partner countries in terms of active ageing policies. The partner institutions will also work on the term of total social inclusion. The outcome of the project will be suggesting standards for the concept and a pilot implementation of a chosen good practice in partner countries.
Active lifestyles, at all ages, were a precondition for social cohesion, requiring solidarity between generations. As there are barriers in many different sectors like education or employment, we should force ourselves to change from a sectoral to a horizontal approach.
At the moment, thinking at the governmental level is too fragmented: a change of attitude is needed by bringing down barriers between policy approaches to social, health, education and employment sectors.
The ageing society could be an opportunity not only to create new jobs, but to develop new products and services geared toward the ageing society by developing different kinds of social and employment models.
The population of Europe is getting older year by year. That leads to both threats and opportunities for the economies and social and daily lives of European countries. This project will help us understand the ageing groups better and in this way we will be able to provide them with what they actually need and demand.