Health promotion, health literacy and age-friendly environments are essential strategies to curb the increased need for long-term care

Health promotion, health literacy and age-friendly environments are essential strategies to curb the increased need for long-term care

In the wake of the upcoming European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing, EuroHealthNet launches its updated Healthy Ageing Portal ( which promotes European policy initiatives, as well as provides practical examples of successful health promotion interventions for active and healthy ageing. Healthy ageing is about ‘optimising opportunities for good health, so that older people can take an active part in society, be independent and enjoy a high quality of life’.  EuroHealthNet supports various healthy ageing initiatives such as IROHLA - on effective Health Literacy interventions among older people and AFE-INNOVNET on age-friendly environments, and has produced a new Policy Précis on health equity and long-term care.

Demographic changes in Europe, as well as the increase in chronic diseases that affect 8 out of 10 older people (65+), lead to a growing need for long-term care (LTC) strategies. This challenge needs to be managed and, above all, investments in policy responses are necessary to contain this growth in LTC needs. 

Health promotion, such as encouraging healthy diets, regular physical activity, good social relationships, life-long learning opportunities and other meaningful activities, is a crucial component of a strategy to achieve a healthier, more active senior population in Europe. Measures that improve older peoples’ health literacy are also important in order to empower and assist them to understand health information, enable them to better self-manage their own health and diseases and support them to navigate though the healthcare system. In addition, adapting our physical and social environments to the needs of older people and promoting age-friendly environments further support sustainable solutions that must be implemented to achieve healthy and active ageing.   

EuroHealthNet’s healthy ageing website brings together over 130 healthy ageing policies and initiatives throughout Europe, including IROHLA (health literacy) and AFE-INNOVNET (age friendly environments). You can find various local, regional and national good practices on the website that are dedicated to promoting older people’s health and wellbeing, as well as a number of EU policy initiatives and instruments such as those developed in the context of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. “By bringing together good practices and helping to mobilize regional and national authorities to scale-up innovative solutions for active and healthy ageing, EuroHealthNet aims to contribute to curb the increased need for long-term care” says Caroline Costongs, Managing Director of EuroHealthNet.

The recent Social Protection Committee report “Adequate social protection for long-term care needs in an ageing society” of October 2014 highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach. Long-term care is relevant to the Europe 2020 strategy and to many of its objectives, such as sound public finances in ageing societies, a high level of employment and the reduction of poverty. As part of its efforts to coordinate economic reforms, the EU has a yearly cycle of policy coordination, known as the EU Semester.  In 2014, six states received recommendations on LTC in order to ensure the efficiency and financial sustainability of social protection systems.

  • EuroHealthNet’s updated Healthy Ageing Portal is available here.
  • The policy précis on Long Term Care and Health Equity is available here.
  • The European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy will take place in Brussels on 9-10 March 2015. For more information, click here.
  • To sign up to the Age-friendly Environments initiative (AFE-INNOVNET), click here
  • The final conference of the IROHLA project will take place in Brussels on November 17th, 2015.  For more information, contact EuroHealthNet’s Advocacy & Healthy Ageing Coordinator Karoline Noworyta.

The healthy ageing portal is supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI 2014-2020). The information contained in this website does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission. For more information see here.