EuroHealthNet has responded to the European Commissions Green Paper on Ageing. While welcoming the EU Institutions’ intention to mainstream ageing policies across all EU policies, we believe that EU actions should strengthen a greater focus on health inequalities and healthy life years, as key indicators of whether the policies, practice and investments being made to “foster solidarity and responsibility between generations” are truly benefiting the health of people and generating more well-being across states, societies and communities.
We know three quarters of inequalities in health outcomes in older age are due to determining factors of the physical, social and economic environments in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. The exponential rise in the epidemic of the non-communicable diseases (NCDs), driven by common underlying risk factors is largely responsible for poor health in older age. These result in accumulative negative impacts throughout the life-course, starting in early years. This is due to structural determinants of health and health inequalities which underpin unequal distribution of good health at the population level and among different social groups. These are the true “causes of the causes”: this is where policy and practice needs to impact to be effective.
- Changes in how we understand and act towards healthy and active ageing.
- Developing communities in ways that foster the abilities of people along the life-course.
- Bring forward attention to the inter-sectoral workforce for ageing populations
- Rebalance the unequal distribution of power, means and resources for healthy and active ageing
- Systematically include health and health equity in assessments of disparities in ageing.