Active ageing means helping people stay in charge of their own lives for as long as possible as they age and, where possible, to contribute to the economy and society.
- The proportion of older people in our societies is increasing fast, due to low birth rates, ageing "baby-boomers" and rising life expectancy.
- Between 2010 and 2060, the number of people over 65 will grow from 17.4% to 29.5% of the total population. The number of people over 80 will nearly triple to 12%.
- During the same time, the working age population in the EU is expected to decline by 14.2%. Pensions, health care and long-term care systems risk becoming unsustainable, with a shrinking labour force no longer able to provide for the needs of the growing number of older people.
- The EU devoted the European Year 2012 to promoting active ageing as a basis for solidarity between generations. In this context, guiding principles for active ageing were elaborated by the Social Protection Committee and the Employment Committee.
- The Active Ageing Index has been developed to assess the untapped potential of older people.
- The European Innovation Partnership for Active and Health Ageing is fostering innovation to raise healthy life expectancy.
- The Social Protection Committee is looking at ways of making adequate provision of long-term care sustainable in ageing societies, by investing in prevention, rehabilitation, age-friendly environments and more ways of delivering care that are better adjusted to people’s needs and remaining capacities.