2012 is the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. A chance for all of us to reflect on how Europeans are living longer and staying healthier than ever before - and to realise the opportunities that represents.
Active ageing can give the baby-boom generation and tomorrow's older adults the opportunity to: stay in the workforce and share their experience, keep playing an active role in society and live as healthy and fulfilling lives as possible.
It is also key to maintaining solidarity between generations in societies with rapidly increasing numbers of older people.
The challenge for politicians and stakeholders will be to improve opportunities for active ageing in general and for living independently, acting in areas as diverse as employment, health care, social services, adult learning, volunteering, housing, IT services or transport.
The European Year seeks to raise awareness of the issues and the best ways of dealing with them. But most of all it seeks to encourage all policymakers and stakeholders to set themselves goals and take action to meet them. 2012 should go beyond debating; it should start bringing tangible results.