Though a widely support concept, few countries have adopted a comprehensive model of active ageing. Many national and European policies focus narrowly on the labour market and working longer, which tends to exclude any older people not engaged in economic activity. Focusing on only the more active older people neglects frail older people and especially those in long-term care institutions. The emphasis on physical activity has also led to inattention to the importance of maintaining mental capacity and mental well-being.
There is a need for a new vision of ageing. The present perspective is a relic of eras when retirement took place for a majority at state pension ages and post-retirement years were relatively short. Changes in the labour market and social behaviour coupled with a remarkable extension in longevity, combined in some countries with later onset of disease and disability, have transformed the experience of later life. The boundaries of frailty are being pushed back and, for a growing number of older Europeans, 70 is the new 50.
INNOVAGE will develop a new formulation of active ageing. Based on the work conducted throughout the project, the aim is to produce an inspiring and usable tool to encourage actions by actors at all levels. The focus on “operationalisation” of active ageing will directly address the major barriers to social innovation and the achievement of healthy life years across the European Union.
Read about our work to understanding and rethink active ageing below.