In January 2021, as part of its work around demographic change in the EU, the European Commission published its "Green Paper on Ageing", launching a broad policy debate to discuss the challenges and opportunities from ageing demographics, tying into the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and UN Decade for Healthy Ageing. Competences for dealing with the effects of ageing largely reside with Member States, however, the EU is well placed to identify key issues and trends, as well as supporting action through its programmes.
The Green Paper takes a life-cycle approach that reflects the universal impact of ageing and focuses on both the personal and wider societal implications of ageing. These include lifelong learning and healthy lifestyles, as well as funding adequate pensions, the need for growing the healthcare workforce and the challenges around long-term care for older people. The four themes around which the Green Paper is structured are:
- Laying the foundations
- Making the most of our working lives
- New opportunities and challenges in retirement
- Meeting the growing needs of an ageing population.
Alzheimer Europe's response
In March 2021, the European Commission launched a consultation on the Green Paper, posing 17 questions about the Green Paper, as well as seeking views on how the EU could respond to the challenges of ageing demographics in Europe
Alzheimer Europe has submitted a response to the consultation on the Green Paper, identifying a broad range of topics and themes, to ensure that the specific needs of people with dementia were addressed. The response highlights:
- Best-practices identified in the second Joint Action on Dementia (2016-2019) which address key issues relating to ageing demographics
- Challenges and difficulties regarding the availability of supports and services for people with dementia, especially in rural communities
- The need for programmes such as EU4Health and Horizon Europe how to focus on improving healthcare systems, particularly in relation to dementia
- The potential role of the EU and its relevant bodies in supporting implementation of the UNCRPD, Charter of Social Rights, the ECHR etc.
- The disproportionate effect on women, both as carers and people with dementia, in relation to social security and pensions systems.
The green paper on ageing and Alzheimer's Europe's response can be downloaded below.