On 9 December 2011 AGE co-hosted, together with CSR Europe and the European Commission, a seminar on “Towards an age-friendly European Union through Enterprise 2020 Active Ageing in Employment, Products & Services”. This kick-off event for the Collaborative project on promoting the business case for active ageing marks the beginning of a series of related discussions and activities during EY2012.
The event brought together companies and older people’s representatives to propose a number of solutions to improve employment and employability for older workers and to suggest ideas for innovation in products and services used by older people. For AGE, a particular highlight of the event was the contribution made by our 4 ‘active agers’ – Nicole Legrain, Louise Richardson, Markku Jaaskelainen and David Sinclair – in 4 working groups on active ageing in employment and active ageing in products and services who provided personal testimonies on the challenges they have encountered, as older people, which provoked the business representatives to react and the working group participants to exchange to gather possible solutions.
These proposed solutions included:
Employment: extending working life, bringing active ageing into employment, developing a programme to highlight the value of active agers as volunteers, job shares between older and younger workers to build skills capacity through mentoring and supporting, creating a flexibility plan to allow the active ager to plan their expectations of working life, and empowering older workers to expanding their competences outside of work.
Goods and services: increased choice for older people, no age discrimination in products/services, taking into account specificities in terms of packaging/size of products, accessibility of ICT, building an age simulator to give people a feel of what it is like to become old (to promote the creation of good ideas for older people), and a ‘doc advisor’ (equivalent to a trip advisor) which would rate doctors services (and promote better interaction between patients and doctors).
Further key areas of discussion included: overlap of the needs of the 50+ with the disabled population, the importance of age friendliness, the issue of mandatory retirement age, and segmentation of consumer goods for people aged above 55. It was concluded that there is a vital need to work together to raise awareness of the issues surrounding demographic change among companies. A full seminar report is available here.
For more details, please contact Rachel Buchanan, Policy Officer for non-discrimination, employment, volunteering and LLL at firstname.lastname@example.org.