Active ageing policies pose challenges for Europe
Policy makers are facing up to demographic change.
TH – 11/2021
Demographic projections predict a decline
in the EU population and an increase in the proportion of older people aged 65
and over from around 20% now to around 31% in 2100. A study on active ageing
and access to basic services has addressed this prediction and examined the
various measures taken by the Member States. It was prepared by the Policy
Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies (IPOL) at the
request of the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
(EMPL). The study focuses on the core elements of active ageing: economic
participation (labour market), social engagement, health and well-being, and
long-term care. It also examines the impact of the COVID crisis on the relevant
with the changes ahead, Europe and the nation states have begun to promote
active and healthy ageing policies. For example, there are various European
initiatives such as the evaluation of costs related to sustainable pension,
health and long-term care systems. There is also now a "Active Ageing Index". Recent European Commission policy documents, the European Pillar of Social Rights and
a European Parliament resolution on opportunities and challenges in the context
of ageing policies post-2020 have put the issue of active ageing high on the
National states have started to act
The EU Member States surveyed, including
Germany and Austria, place active ageing high on their political agenda.
However, the drafting of an active ageing policy is an ongoing process.
Therefore, several Member States have already launched strategies and policies
(e.g. Austria, Poland, Germany and Sweden), while in others (e.g. Italy) the
drafting of a single policy on active ageing is still under discussion.
Policies generally aim to promote
participation, lifelong learning and employment of older people, as well as to
counteract cognitive impairment and deterioration of health. Social security
systems, which inherently include pension systems, healthcare and long-term
care, play the most important role in this respect. Instruments to promote the
economic participation of older people are particularly effective: regulations
on the retirement age and the reduction of early retirement benefits, both of
which aim to keep older workers in the labour market longer. These have also
been successful; the employment rate of 55-64 year olds in the EU-27 has risen
steadily since 2002.
Much remains to be done, particularly in
the area of long-term care, where the greatest challenges are expected. There
is a compelling need to introduce long-term care-related indicators to obtain
reliable data. Digital technologies could play an important role in supporting
care provision for people with low and medium care requirements. However, these
should be complemented by education and training to increase digital skills in
care and in the profession.
The European Commission and the European
Parliament have defined the general principles, priority objectives and
framework to achieve the objectives set, but their implementation and
development of solutions is the responsibility of the EU Member States. Social
partners and organisations representing older people have an important role to
play in supporting active ageing policies and programmes.
Click here for the study.