AGE Barometer shows how COVID-19 has magnified pre-existing struggles for many older people


Brussels, Belgium – 29 September 2020

Read this press release in pdf format


AGE Barometer annually assesses the socio-economic situation of older people across the European Union. Age discrimination, digital divide, elder abuse or neglect… the outcome clearly shows how the pandemic has shed light on issues which were already at stake before the spread of the virus.


Data have been collected from AGE member organisations before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Barometer covers Belgium (Flanders), Cyprus, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Slovenia. The diversity among the older population led us to also include two short sections on the specific challenges faced by older Roma and older LGBTI people.

The AGE Barometer contains key information helping to better understand how COVID-19 has worsened the dire situations many older people already experienced before the pandemic. The recent months have shown how digitalisation can act as an additional barrier to social inclusion; how a lack of investment in long-term care undermines its quality and universal access; and how lockdown and physical distancing measures can ultimately lead to neglect and elder abuse.

The Barometer sheds light on the need to urgently:

  • Fill the huge data gap, in particular on digitalisation, elder abuse, and the intersection of older age with other grounds of discrimination, to capture the detailed and complex realities of older people;
  • Close the digital divide which is putting many older people at risk of exclusion and abuse;
  • Invest in health and long-term care systems to truly strengthen their capacity to look after everyone regardless of age, disability, or health status.

The publication of this second edition of our Barometer comes at a key political moment with the adoption of the European Council conclusions dedicated to the rights of older people in the era of digitalisation. The findings of the Barometer will notably inform our reaction to the forthcoming Green Paper on Ageing. They will also complement our recent contribution to the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Because we know that the diversity of the older population is not easy to reflect, we have prepared a short guide of tips and tricks to help media and public institutions to adopt a written and visual communication free from age stereotypes.

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Useful links

For more information, please contact: Julia Wadoux, AGE Policy Coordinator:

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