This debate is a follow up of the opinion CCMI/165 on “Economic, Technological and social Changes in advanced health services for the elderly”.
Europe is an ageing continent. Thanks to the economic and social progress, we have made life expectancy has increased but ageing often comes with health issues and restricted mobility. This is a challenge not only for our elderly but also for their families and the whole society.
It is our duty to promote equal Access to high-quality care and services. As a first step, the needs of our older people need to be anticipated: we need appropriate statistical data to enhance the right political action. Secondly, providing accommodation for the elderly is a complex and sensitive issue and the choice can no longer be between live-in care and residential care homes. The EU should take up the idea of age-friendly cities-as promoted by the WHO- and create a programme that supports pilot projects for automation technologies and building and urban policies. A major topic is also to improve and harmonise the caregivers' working conditions, education and facilitating access to training: a harmonised legal framework for personal services, including streamlining training for carers all over Europe is needed.
The needs of elderly people and the experiences of caregivers must come together to form the solutions of the future, supported by a sustainable financial system. Elderly people are main actors in the so calls Silver Economy, offering a large number of investment and of employment opportunities.