The ageing population is both a challenge and an opportunity for most European countries, especially in the current economic context. Structural reforms are needed in public systems dedicated to retirement, healthcare, employment and education in order to reverse the growing pressure that demographic ageing is placing on public accounts. At the same time, this new demographic situation is also an opportunity to adopt an integrated and lasting approach to active ageing, which takes peoples individual life paths more into account, thus contributing to improving the quality of life for older people, and promoting social cohesion. The URBACT Active A.G.E. project takes this approach.

Main Results

What is needed to successfully orient employment, healthcare and coverage policies in favour of older people:

1- It is necessary to develop close cooperation among the various social actors involved at the local level with the goal of creating an operational network and an information system that will improve the effectiveness of actions and ensure that elderly people and their families have access to as broad a spectrum of proposed services and measures as possible.

2- Special attention must be paid to supporting projects that make the most of human resources at all ages. The Active A.G.E. project demonstrated that projects in favour of young people and those in favour of older people share the same stakes. This opens the way for intergenerational actions with young people, but also among older and very old people. The experience of the “Societa Service” project in Prague is a very innovative example of care solutions that combine healthcare and active aging.

3- It is important to propose areas of action that are shared by the public and private sectors with the goal of providing support for family helpers and finding solutions that take into account both individual and collective needs (see the Rome Local Action Plan).

Good practices and case studies based on the experiences of URBACT Active A.G.E. partner cities:

For the three-year period of the project, the nine cities in the Active A.G.E. network worked on three topics, with trans-national meetings and the publication of reports that compiled their case studies. These topics were:

  • Age and economy, and more specifically the limitations and opportunities linked to the labour market. Active AGE network cities highlighted the following points in this area:

    - Work quality (working conditions, health-related issues, salaries, qualifications) in a context of high unemployment and low labour market demand.

    - Lengthening the duration of working life: policies aimed at increasing the employability of older people, along with their economic and social inclusion and active citizenship.

    - Increasing the retirement age to improve the sustainability of retirement and healthcare systems.

    - Developing entrepreneurship and promoting self-employment and business creation.

    See the report.

  • Age and cair, which focussed on the healthcare challenges of older people and their independence, which are key factors to promoting active ageing. With this in mind, the Active A.G.E. project brought to light the importance of long-term support services and the following challenges:

    - Guaranteeing better health and a better quality of life, and fighting depression and isolation.

    - Developing home care and family support to help keep the elderly at home.

    - A long-term healthcare system: improving the quality of social services and increasing the number of home-help personnel.

    See the report.

  • Age and inclusion, a challenge that is changing with technological and socio-economic transformations. For the partner cities, the challenges were, more specifically:

    - Access to housing that is adapted to the most vulnerable and to people with low incomes, through integrated strategies that favour affordable, quality housing, and that focus on resolving the homeless issue.

    - Active citizen participation: involvement in community life, notably of the most vulnerable groups such as women and minorities, using volunteering, return to employment and continuing training.

    - Fighting poverty and progressive marginalisation, by ensuring that retirement pensions are high enough, via a social contribution.

    See the report.

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"The new demographic situation is an opportunity to adopt an integrated, lasting approach to active ageing."