Healthy and active ageing: turning the 'silver' economy into gold

12 March 2012
Annika Hedberg (Head of Sustainable Prosperity for Europe programme and Senior Policy Analyst)

Demographic change poses enormous societal and economic challenges for Europe. As a consequence the proportion of working-age people is expected to decline dramatically and age-related expenditure on health care and pensions to increase substantially.

In this Policy Brief Annika Ahtonen stresses that closing our eyes will not make the demographic challenge disappear; nor will it transform overstretched public budgets into sustainable sources of funding for ageing societies. It is in Europe's interests to face up to the challenge and turn it into a narrative for growth, success and social cohesion.

She argues that if Europe is to realise the enormous potential of its ageing population, the EU must use the instruments at its disposal to encourage active and healthy ageing across society. This requires promoting health and preventing diseases, creating age-friendly environments, providing people with incentives to continue working longer, and deploying innovative products, services and processes. It will also require bringing about an attitude change among EU citizens, be they carers, patients, consumers, workers or employers, and involving them in the transition.

Healthy and active ageing: turning the 'silver' economy into gold