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EU promotes programmes to help older people stay active in their communities by recognising some of the best initiatives.

A wide variety of programmes across the EU support older people in their desire to keep contributing to society after retirement. They ensure communities continue to benefit from the skills and knowledge they have gained throughout their lives.

The Commission recognises some of the outstanding programmes by giving awards. This year's winners are:

  • Gravity Racer project – Huolin Koulu School, Finland. 12-year-old students and granddad Hannu Gustafsson worked together building a gravity racer car.
  • The Generation Gap, JP/Politiken Hus, Denmark – 4 journalists at Danish newspaper Politiken wrote about ways younger and older generations can work together.
  • The Senior at Work, Cultfiction Oy, Finland – an 18-part reality TV series on public channel Yle TV1 depicting people who decide not to retire.
  • Two Generations Share a House, Typhaine de Penfentenyo, France – through Typhaine’s Ensemble2générations français , students stay in the home of an older person for free or for a small rent, in exchange for help and company.
  • Life-Long Living, Fredericia, Denmark – local social services help elderly people remain independent, focusing on everyday rehabilitation.
  • Managing People of Different Ages, Helsingin kaupunki, Henkilöstökeskus, Finland – promotes an age-diverse workforce by getting everyone involved, through bodies such as sports centres, healthcare providers and occupational services.

Bruno Põder of Kersti Skovgaard, Estonia received an individual award recognising his desire to contribute to his society by continuing to work as a surgeon until 80.

Strategy to support active ageing

The age profile of the EU’s population is expected to change dramatically in the coming decades – nearly a third of Europeans will be 65 or over by 2060 .

Population ageing means there will also be fewer people of working age – a shift from having 4 working-age people for every pensioner to having just 2. These demographic changes are expected to have substantial consequences for public finances in the EU – for example on pension systems and the cost of healthcare services.

The Commission created the awards to promote ways to address the challenges of ageing. Active ageing programmes can help older people find new opportunities for employment, participate in society, and live independently for as long as possible.

More on the EU’s approach to ageing

European year for active ageing 2012

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