Active Ageing 2012

ESN has joined the coalition for the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between the Generations 2012. The Year is “a chance for all of us to reflect on how Europeans are living longer and staying healthier than ever before — and to realise the opportunities that represents.” (EY2012 website)

The coalition is led by AGE Platform Europe, a “European network of around 150 organisations of and for people aged 50+ which aims to voice and promote their interests.” It has already produced a brochure for EY2012 which includes good practice examples and makes recommendations to policy-makers, e.g.:

  • Better support workers with informal care responsibilities
  • Create community service to promote social inclusion for older people
  • Take an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to social services

Together with the European Commission and the national coordinators, the coalition will take the lead in making the European Year a success for older people in Europe.

ESN brings to the coalition its knowledge on service planning and provision at local level through its working group on long-term care and its major research study on contracting for quality. Most recently, ESN has taken part in the peer review 'A Good Place to Grow Older', comparing policy-making across Europe on adaptation to the ageing society. Several other peer reviews on ageing and long-term care can be found on the peer review website. ESN is also a European partner on the WeDo project, also led by AGE Platform Europe, which is developing quality standards specifically for care and assistance services for older people.

Eldercare Services in Europe

ESN’s Stephen Barnett attended the international conference “Eldercare services in Europe” organised by the Observatory for Sociopolitical Developments in Europe. Representing the federal ministry responsible for ageing, Dr. Dieter Hackler said: “the four-generation family, with two generations over 65, is well on the way to becoming commonplace nowadays”. Stephen Barnett reports that the points he took away from the conference were:

  • ‘Low-level’ household/home-help services are vital to allow older people to manage at home, besides more formal health and social care.
  • The role of employers in providing support to staff with caring responsibilities is growing, either through service vouchers (France) or advice & advocacy for staff (Germany).
  • The role of vouchers or individual budgets to pay for care and support from low to high level needs is growing (Sweden, Germany, France).

A full conference report and the powerpoint presentations will be available from the Observatory website in the near future. In the final panel discussion, Ursula Woltering of the federal association of Older People’s Offices (municipal information and outreach centres) recalled the central role of local authorities: “they are the place where things actually happen; they look out for older people’s safety and justice and fill gaps in service provision,” she said.