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What active ageing is?

Active ageing aims to promote the idea of the older citizen as a full member of society, fulfilled from both a professional and personal point of view, playing an active role and as independent as possible. The EU seeks to foster this potential mainly in the following areas:

  • Employment

Older citizens are particularly vulnerable to recent events related to the economic crisis. This, coupled with the general rise in life expectancy leading to later pension ages, means that many fear unemployment in the years leading up to retirement.

  • Participation in society

Retirement can be a difficult period for many older people, leading to feelings of uselessness and detachment from society. The EU wishes to ensure the recognition of older peoples’ contributions, whether as carers or volunteers, at the same time creating more supportive conditions for their activities.

  • Independent living

Older citizens, with a few small changes to their physical and emotional environment, can often remain independent for a relatively long time. Active ageing allows people to take charge of their own lives and grow older with dignity.

  • Solidarity between generations

In contemporary European society there appear to be few occasions for young and old people to meet and exchange ideas, knowledge and resources, which could contribute to increasing the risk of conflict.  Intergenerational solidarity was made a priority by the Treaty of Lisbon, to be promoted through various channels such as the media, academia and civil society.

Why active ageing and citizenship?

2012 was the year during which the European Union decided to give particular attention to the needs of its older citizens, raising awareness and soliciting the attention of stakeholders and policymakers to the potential of this particular demographic, encouraging reflection about ways to encourage active ageing and solidarity between generations.

The follow-up to the steps taken in 2012 was the 2013 Year of Citizens, with a focus on the particular rights of every European. The Year aims to boost dialogue through all levels – including governance, business and civil society – in order to raise awareness and encourage debate about these rights.

The 2013 Year therefore contributes to extend and complement the process initiated in 2012. Increasing numbers of active and healthy older people represent a considerable resource for society, providing a wealth of knowledge, experience and energy.

At this point, the question is how to best profit from this resource while empowering older citizens themselves through the implementation of Europe-wide strategies.

RePlaY will contribute to general awareness-raising about these issues, to foster EU cooperation in these fields and to develop new projects promoting active ageing and intergenerational dialogue looking at the new Europe for Citizens Programme 2014-2020.