The European Year of Active Ageing

Managing Director
in my prime
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In case you hadn’t yet noticed:-

“2012 is the (European Commission’s) European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. 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.

Active ageing can give the baby-boom generation and tomorrow's older adults the opportunity to:

·         stay in the workforce and share their experience

·         keep playing an active role in society

·         live as healthy and fulfilling lives as possible.

It is also key to maintaining solidarity between generations in societies with rapidly increasing numbers of older people.”

This is how it is described on their website. For more see

Last week, on 6 March, we attended the UK launch of this major initiative with many fine speakers and a TV link-up to the relevant EU Commissioner. Quite why the launch of “2012 as the year of” should take place in March I am not quite sure.

More from the website states:

“The challenge for politicians and stakeholders will be to improve opportunities for active ageing in general and for living independently, acting in areas as diverse as employment, health care, social services, adult learning, volunteering, housing, IT services or transport.

The European Year seeks to raise awareness of the issues and the best ways of dealing with them. But most of all it seeks to encourage all policymakers and stakeholders to set themselves goals and take action to meet them. 2012 should go beyond debating; it should start bringing tangible results.”

Unfortunately, a few things stand out.

There were very few politicians, policymakers or employers, as major stakeholders, in attendance. Furthermore, a number of the speakers complained of “pilotitis” or “projectitis” a phenomenon whereby things are started while money and enthusiasm exist, then fall by the wayside until they are eventually re-invented sometime later. And, the continuing problem of lack of clarity about the needs of different groups of older people was once again apparent. Without revisiting old ground, 50 year-olds are different to 80 year-olds!

Obviously it is early days in the year, well early-ish, so maybe more will emerge.

If you wish to “get involved” or would like to suggest appropriate initiatives, do check out their website.


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