The European Week of Active and Healthy Ageing took place this week and emphasised that the changing European demography necessitates innovative capacity-building in systems and services for healthy ageing, and their implications to be more adequately addressed (click here for further reading on this issue).
EuropeActive is a strong supporter and advocates for active and healthy ageing, having completed the Erasmus + funded project ‘Promoting Active and Healthy Ageing’ and having recently been selected to coordinate a new EU-funded project called Active Ageing Communities which will use the strength of intergenerational support to attract more inactive older adults to engage in regular physical activity. With an emphasis on participation, fitness clubs across Europe will be encouraged to set-up community-based actions to encourage parents and grandparents to come together in social hubs which will build confidence and support to create opportunities to develop a spirit of fraternity which will motivate and inspire togetherness as social and physical activities come together. As with all EuropeActive projects it is about determining priorities and strategies, and then putting good ideas into evidence-led action.
These values of intergenerational support, fraternity and togetherness were echoed during the EWAHA conference on on ‘Building and consolidating regional innovation ecosystems for active ageing’, in which cooperation and collaboration were regarded as the most important aspects in building ecosystems for active ageing, as Brian O’Connor, chair of European Community Health Alliance stated, “creating infrastructure, collegiate atmosphere and community across the world” are essential to this aim.
The COVID-19 experience has already shown the importance of the innovation of digital technologies across fitness and how successful clubs have been reaching out into their communities. The socio-economic case for impact investment into healthy ageing is already clear, and the project will help to develop a reliable methodology for clubs to increase their community positioning, and to open a new market in active ageing. The European Week of Active & Healthy Ageing is shedding a new light on this important area of work, and in a broader pursuit of individual wellbeing being a legitimate objective of public policy.