Population ageing is one of the most significant socio-economic challenges currently facing the EU. The European Commission’s 2015 Ageing Report forecasts that the EU will move from having four working-age (15-64) people for every person aged over 65 years in 2013, to just two by 2060. The growing number of older people is generally perceived as a problem, given that the annual government expenditure on older people, currently amounting to nearly 20% of GDP in the EU (Ageing Report, 2015, European Commission), is forecast to rise by 1.8 % by 2060, while a shortage of up to 2 million health workers in the EU is predicted by 2020. However, this very same demographic trend, if appropriately harnessed, may be a source of outstanding opportunities. Indeed, Euromonitor estimates that the global spending power of those aged 60+ will reach US$ 15 trillion by 2020.
The “silver economy” covers a host of different but interlinked strands, aimed at improving the quality of life, the inclusion in society and the involvement in economic activity of the ageing population through innovative policies, products and services. The concept has been emerging over the years, and gathered momentum with the publication of the European Commission’s “Growing the European Silver Economy”, a paper detailing a wide array of economy related policy initiatives. These include the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), the Active and Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP), as well as the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on Health and Active Ageing – all aiming to ensure that the older generations stay longer in employment, benefit from healthier and independent lives and receive appropriate care. Furthermore, the Active Ageing Index – managed jointly by the European Commission (DG EMPL) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – has been created to measure to what extent older people contribute to the economy and the society and to help policymakers develop appropriate active ageing policies.
This international symposium will offer an invaluable opportunity to consider different ways and strategies to promote healthy and active ageing and foster the engagement of the elderly in society, Furthermore, it will analyse challenges and opportunities raised by the demographic transition and explore practical solutions the issues associated with an ageing population in Europe. Finally, it will highlight the most recent technological innovations at service of the elderly and how they can be used to lower the costs associated with ageing and improve the lives of older citizens, whilst simultaneously helping to boost the economy.
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