"Europe's ageing population is a challenge for our job market and its social and health systems. But it is also an economic and social opportunity. ICT will provide new and more accessible products and services that meet the needs of older people," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. "These two initiatives will mobilise digital technologies that will improve the daily lives and social participation of older people and create new opportunities for Europe's industry."
By 2020, 25% of the EU's population will be over 65. Spending on pensions, health and long-term care is expected to increase by 4-8% of GDP in coming decades, with total expenditures tripling by 2050. However, older Europeans are also important consumers with a combined wealth of over €3000 billion.
ICT will increasingly allow older people to stay active and productive for longer; to continue to engage in society with more accessible online services; and to enjoy a healthier and higher quality of life for longer.
The majority of older people do not yet enjoy the benefits of the digital age - low cost communications and online services that could support some of their real needs - since only 10% use the internet. Severe vision, hearing or dexterity problems, frustrate many older peoples' efforts (21% of the over 50s) to engage in the information society.
Ageing Well in the Information Society (COM(2007)0332 final)
Supporting Staff Working Paper (SEC(2007)811)
Proposal for an Ambient Assisted Living joint research and development programme (AAL) (COM(2007)0329 final)
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eInclusion > Ageing well