A session on “Active and Healthy Ageing in cities and regions” was organised on Wednesday 9 October during the 2019 edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities. 

The session was opened by Mrs Tukiainen, who shared her hopes for future developments on the topic at European level. In addition to the recent adoption of an opinion on Active and Healthy Ageing at the Committee of the Regions, she also highlighted the potential work to be carried out with Dubravka Šuica, foreseen Vice-President for Democracy and Demography of the European Commission.  

During the session, the European research programme ESPON also presented its work on ageing populations through its project “ACPA - Adapting European Cities to Population Ageing: Policy Challenges and Best Practices”. Although the study is focused on big cities, some of its outcomes can be interesting for our territories. The analysis of policies in 8 different cities for instance showed that efficient policy supporting older adults and the Silver Economy sector require political backing and funding, close collaboration with various stakeholders but also active involvement of older people in the elaboration and implementation phases. 

The AdvantAGE initiative was also presented during this session. It is a join action co-financed by Member States and the European Union under third EU Health Programme 2014-2020. AdvantAGE involves 22 States working together on the issue of frailty among older adults. They jointly realised in 2017 a state of the art in order to build from 2019 specific roadmaps for each State. Italy, as member of the initiative, has for instance adopted a law on January 28, 2019 which recognises the role of older people in the community and exposes the phenomena of exclusion, prejudice and discrimination. In this framework, the Italian Marche region built a Strategic Regional Healthcare Plan; co-created with stakeholders from the healthcare sector and civil society organisations, this plan aims at addressing frailty at all ages, including from 62 and above. 

Although the specific issues for ageing populations in rural and mountainous areas were not raised enough, the session held during the EU Regions Week was an interesting opportunity to discuss the challenges related to the ageing population in Europe. Discussions highlighted the similarities of situations in Europe but also specificities depending on places and political governance. Panellists also stressed out the need for regional analysis of seniors’ needs and problems to develop adapted policies.