Sustainable Ageing is a Major Policy Challenge for the Future

Current ageing policies are narrowly focused and overlook the diversity of our ageing populations. This can increase social exclusion in later life. This was the message heard today at a European policy seminar in Brussels, hosted by the COST-funded research network on Reducing Old Age Social Exclusion in Europe – or ROSEnet.

Participants consider the ways in which current policy can tackle exclusion in later life across Europe. Drawing on state-of-the-art research and policy perspectives, the Seminar brought together key European stakeholders and researchers, who are at the forefront of policy analysis, innovation and implementation.

“With continuing social and economic uncertainty, it is critical that European public policy reflects the needs of a growing, and diverse, older population,” said Prof. Kieran Walsh, Chair of ROSEnet and Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway.

With an opening address by Ana Carla Pereira, Head of Unit “Modernisation of Social Protection Systems” DG EMPL C2 at the European Commission, speakers at today’s Seminar presented new developments in research and policy. These highlighted the steps necessary to improve social and civic participation in later life. The seminar was closed by Marian Harkin, MEP, Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on ‘Active Ageing, Intergenerational Solidarity and Family Policies’.

“Some older people experience exclusion, which can impact on their ability to participate as full members of European societies,” highlighted Prof. Walsh. “As such, there are legitimate questions about whether or not existing policy can promote sustainability and inclusion for older adults in Europe,” Professor Sandra Torres of Uppsala University in Sweden went on to say.

This event demonstrated the benefits for policy of recognising the contributions of older people to European society.

About ROSEnet:

ROSEnet (Reducing Old-Age Exclusion in Europe – is an innovative networking partnership between policy stakeholders, researchers and older people from 41 countries, involving over 135 members.

ROSEnet aims to overcome critical knowledge gaps in research and policy to tackle social exclusion amongst older people in Europe.

Funded by the COST programme, and focusing on different forms of old-age social exclusion (economic, social, services, civic, and community and spatial), members are engaged in a four- year (2016-2020) programme of research, dissemination and networking activities. ROSEnet is dedicated to developing shared understandings of old-age exclusion, that are underpinned by state-of-the-art research and innovation, and that help to direct meaningful policy and practice development.