Last January 2021, the European Commission published its EU Green Paper on Ageing, which aims at launching a political debate on ageing in Europe. As reminded by the European Commission in this communication, the European Union does not have a competence on most of issues related to ageing, such as healthcare and pensions. Therefore, the Green Paper proposes different working axes, which must be adapted according to national, regional and local contexts.
The highest concentrations of people over 65 can be observed in rural, mountainous and sparsely population areas and on the top 6 of ageing regions in Europe, 4 are mountainous. Countries like Greece, Cyprus, Sweden and Portugal will be particularly affected by ageing and will have the highest shares of elderly population in mountainous areas in the EU by 2050.
Given the importance of the ageing challenge for most mountain areas, Euromontana recently participated to the European Commission’s consultation on the Green Paper on Ageing to provide recommendations on how to adapt measures at national, regional and local levels.
To improve the quality of life of seniors in our villages, Euromontana in particular recommends to:
- Ensure accessible and adequate healthcare services, including by encouraging more practioners to stay or move to mountain areas, developing telemedicine and telemonitoring and proposing housing offers for vulnerable and dependent older adults that also take advantage of mountain areas’ natural assets.
- Build regional strategies to improve older people’s quality of life, for instance by supporting the Silver Economy sector which has a great potential both to assist older generations and to create jobs and strengthen social cohesion.
- Develop adapted transport offers (increased on-demand offer, stronger multimodality for instance) as well as ‘reversed mobility’ services to overcome the issue of mobility in mountain areas, including for active, vulnerable, and dependent people.
- Stimulate a mindset change by showcasing the important role of older generations for society, in particular in rural communities, and encouraging older people’s participation in local initiatives, social innovations and intergenerational activities.
Our analysis of ageing in mountain areas and all our recommendations are available in our updated position paper “Ageing in mountain areas – Contributions of Euromontana for the Green Paper on Ageing”.
Euromontana is also involved in the Interreg Europe project SILVER SMEs, which aims at supporting the development of the Silver Economy sector in rural and mountainous areas to improve the quality of life of rural seniors and boost business creation. On April 21, 2021, SILVER SMEs is organising the online conference “Challenges and solutions to cope with ageing in rural Europe: the role of the Silver Economy“. This event will further discuss how European and regional policies can contribute to developing innovative solutions for rural older adults.24 March 2021