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Action Group D4: Age-friendly Environments


The Action Group works on:
- setting up mechanisms to engage the older people and ensure participation;
- adapting and developing principles and guidelines on age-friendly environments for the EU context;
- understanding how ICT and Service innovations can help shape supportive environments for older people and how those innovations work in their physical and social context;
- exploring new ways to promote active and healthy ageing with age friendly environments;
- running pilots to analyse integrated approaches to urban design, housing, health and social services, age-friendly workplaces, ICT and smart environments.

These activities cover specifically the following areas:
1. Implementing policies and practices for regions, cities and communities: the partners share their local experiences to promote better involvement of the elderly, a multistakeholder approach and new practices.
2. Networks promoting a European covenant on demographic change: awareness raising at European level and a repository of good examples to promote effective age-friendly environment across Europe.
3. Spatial context: collaboration between research centres and programmes to better understand the links between older people's wellbeing and their urban environment.
4. ICT and smart environment: promotion of ICT products and services adapted to older people's needs, through the promotion of a better access to urban services, higher autonomy and home services.

(p.m. the Action Plan  PDF icon 1.3 MB )


Preliminary achievements

The Group worked on identifying priorities and obstacles in this field. A key result is a report published in 2013 based on a survey among local and regional administrations, which showed that becoming an agefriendly environment is high on the agenda of a majority of towns, cities and regions; the biggest obstacle is lack of funding. Results highlighted that sharing good practices  PDF icon 2.5 MB and providing information on funding are the highest priorities.

Another outcome of the group has been the mobilisation around the creation of a thematic network on age-friendly environments and proposal for an EU covenant on demographic change. This work is supported by a European Commission co-funded project with WHO/Europe on age friendly environments in Europe launched in October 2013.

Regions and local authorities in the Group have been working on identifying the needs and engaging the older people while promoting stakeholder alliances at their level to coordinate integrated age friendly policies and strategies. Regions have facilitated older persons' fora and are supporting the leading role of the elderly in communities. They are also sharing their good practices in areas such as personalised transport, social connectivity and home visiting services. The partners are developing a European collaborative forum for dementia supportive communities, including the creation of an evidence-base and a basic shared dataset on dementia supportive environment practices at local, regional and EU level. On the practical level partners are organising trainings for healthcare assistants, establishing need-based education provision for persons with dementia and their families, and working with the local tourist industry to cater to people with dementia and their carers.

Partners have also been sharing knowledge on the design of urban environments and improving living environments addressing the needs of the older people and contributing to their social inclusion through ICTs.

Portals on integrated approaches to age-friendly neighbourhoods as well as multi-stakeholder projects on Healthy Cities have been launched.In 2014 the Group plans to scale up towards international collaboration, targeting for example experimental, monitoring and learning networks on healthy ageing in the workplace, and sharing evidence on the design of buildings and public spaces and data for healthy urban development.

Partners involved in ICT for smart environments have been sharing best practices on Ambient Assisted Living services and solutions integrating user needs. One result has been the launch of a social tourism platform with guidelines related to age-friendly ICTs. The Group will progress to analysing results from pilots testing relevant projects and to designing sustainable tourism for elderly. A State of the Art of best practices and lessons learned in the area of ICTs for smart environments, detecting gaps and identifying end users' needs is currently being compiled by the Group.