The older population is growing at a considerably faster rate than that of the world's total population. The number of older persons in Europe has tripled over the last 50 years and will more than triple again over the next 50 years. The older population is itself undergoing a process of demographic ageing: the most rapidly growing age group is that aged 80 and over. The shift in age structure associated with population ageing has a profound impact on a broad range of economic, political and social conditions. Demographic changes are creating a new society: fewer young people and young adults, older workers, pensioners and very elderly people. New forms of solidarity must be developed between the generations, based on mutual support and the transfer of skills and experience.
This global trend is a known phenomenon also in Italy and specifically in the city of Udine.One of the most important steps to cope with these changes and to provide more effective services is an overall understanding and analysis of the local contest and the living conditions of citizens, in particular vulnerable groups. Taking as a priority area the older age group, different approaches were combined to raise awareness on demographic ageing and better meet citizens' needs through more effective strategies and health policies. The involvement in Healthy Cities and the strong commitment to the the me of Healthy and Active Ageing have also contributed to a re-definition of priorities at the local level and a re-organisation of service. What we feel could still be improved is the age-friendliness of cities through the creation of favorable and sustainable environments. By exchanging with peer cities engaged on this thematic we hope to find new innovative solutions to make our cities more accessible and respondent to older people's needs. Any potential achievement in this field will improve the sustainability of the Strategic Plan on Elderly People which is under construction within the Municipality of Udine and is one of the major midterm goal of the actual local government.
Having been the leading city of the "Healthy Ageing Sub-Network" within the W.H.O. Healthy Cities Network for several years, Udine has had the opportunity to collaborate with many partners both at national, European and international level on the theme of Healthy and Active Ageing. It has gained experience by working with WHO exerts ad advisors and by getting in contact with plenty of initiatives and actions organized by cities to promote the quality of life of older people.
Much has been done in Udine to promote healthy lifestyles and health literacy within the community and to increase awareness on the challenge of demographic change and on the importance of an active and healthy ageing. This experience will . be fully put at the partners's disposal within the transnational network.
Udine commits itself to provide ail the assistance to the partners order to fully understand the characteristics of the practice to be transferred, to put in place a public assessment process involving local stakeholders, to identify and adapt the process and the tools that better fit with the local context and may successfully be transferred, to identify constraints and barriers and to find possible solution to overcome them.