With demographic change causing Europe’s population to age, the European Commission plans to launch a green paper which will:

  • set out the key issues related to ageing
  • discuss possible ways to anticipate and respond to the socioeconomic impacts of Europe’s ageing population.

In giving feedback on the plans for the green paper, EuroHealtNet highlighted that:

  • health promotion and prevention should be central to European and national efforts to assess, prepare and act in a timely way to keep people healthy.
  • It is right to note regional inequalities in health outcomes and abilities to absorb the impact of demographic change.
  • We do not all age equally; people with lower levels of education and low-status jobs suffer more from the negative aspects of ageing more than others, and experience those aspects earlier. There are also gendered inequalities
  • There has so far been a lack of discussion on health as investment and the economic returns that can be achieved. improved implementation and enhancing enforcement of preventative measures across broader segments of the population “could extend the number of years in good health by a decade”.
  • Enabling healthy ageing begins in early years

We recommend to:

  • adopt a holistic, people-centered, and inter-sectoral community-based approach to healthy and active ageing across the life-course.
  • Recognise that human and financial investments in healthy and active ageing constitute a vital asset, not a burden to health and social costs in Europe.
  • Bring forward attention to the workforce for ageing populations especially in the long-term care, employment/productivity of older population with a particular focus on the psychosocial dimension of occupational health and safety strategies, closing the digital skills divide.
  • Prioritise preventative measures within primary health care, focus on chronic and non-communicable diseases, including mental health and cognitive functioning.
  • Recognise large inequalities in ageing not only between regions but importantly between people with different social and economic statuses. An assessment of the effects on equity and different groups of people should be central to all future actions and proposals

Find our feedback here