EESC opinion: The impact of population ageing on health and welfare systems

EESC opinion: The impact of population ageing on health and welfare systems

Key points

The Committee believes that the following measures are needed to deal with the impact of the ageing population on health and welfare systems:

At national level:

  • Strengthening of preventive healthcare, health promotion and education across all age groups and Improving the quality of health and social care for older people.
  • Evaluating through Health Technology Assessment (HTA) telecare health technologies (care environment), which aim to support independent living and improve the efficiency and quality of care for older people.
  • Creating a comprehensive, decentralised infrastructure near to where people live that facilitates direct contact between older people and members of the medical and caring professions (deinstitutionalisation).
  • Introducing mandatory schemes to ensure care in old age (e.g. care insurance).
  • Opening national health and social care systems to model tests to enable systems to evolve.
  • Raising awareness of these issues through lifelong learning (LLL).
  • Recognising the importance of carers and their needs.

At European level:

  • With reference to the conclusions of the EPSCO council on 30 November 2009, drawing up an action plan for healthy and dignified ageing.
  • Prioritising the issue of active, healthy and dignified ageing in the EU 2020 strategy.
  • Harmonising terminology, definitions, assessment tools, guidelines, criteria and procedures.
  • Emphasising active, healthy and dignified ageing as themes in the next two European Years.
  • Developing a European Charter on the Rights of Persons in Need of Assistance and Care.
  • Establishing a specific inter-service working party in the Commission on Ageing and health (including healthcare, personal care, pensions and financial sustainability).
  • Creating a Round Table, a Category or a Permanent Study Group on Active, healthy and dignified ageing – intergenerational dialogue in the EESC to draw up an interdisciplinary strategy in these areas.
  • Including gerontology and demographic research as a priority in the Eighth Research Framework Programme.
  • Listing, comparing and assessing Member States' health aims.
  • Supporting Member States in the implementation of the above-mentioned measures through funding from the Structural and Cohesion Funds and the Open Method of Coordination.
  • Supporting multinational Health Technology Assessments (HTAs) for evaluating new ICT solutions to the care needs of older people.
  • Creating a new image of old age – including in the media.
  • Drawing up European guidelines on reconciling family, work and care.