Last February, AGE President Ebbe Johansen participated in a panel discussion of the High-Level meeting on Active and Autonomous Ageing organised by the Swedish Presidency of the European Union. The event discussed the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population, with a focus on longer and sustainable working lives and retaining a skilled workforce in the care sector.
Enhancing age diversity in the workplace
The first day focused on the ability for older people to remain on the labour market thanks to longer and healthier lives. Research has shown that today’s 70-year-olds are like the last generation of 50-year-olds. AGE President, Ebbe Johansen, intervene in the panel “Enabling longer and more sustainable working lives” alongside Dr Gabriella Sebardt, Vice-Chair of Business Europe’s Social Affairs Committee of Business Europe, Marina Monaco, Senior Advisor of the European Trade Union Confederation and Signe Riisalo, Minister of Social Protection of Estonia. Mr Johansen insisted on the importance of intergenerational exchanges and cooperation between younger and older workers, and reminded the benefits of age diversity in a company. However, improving the employment rate of people aged 55-64 cannot be done without:
- providing adequate working conditions and incentives for older workers to continue working.
- tackling the obstacles currently faced by the older workforce through tailor-made solutions to enable them to stay in employment.
The second day mainly focused on the need for adequate skills and labour force in care and nursing. Many countries in Europe indeed face the same problem and similar challenges: how to ensure an attractive career in the face of increasing challenges? How to attract new people into teaching and how to retain experienced people? One of the speakers, Wilhelmina Hoffman, President from The Swedish Dementia Centre and Headmaster of Silviahemmet explained the importance of leadership as opposed to bare management. The increased use of technology was mentioned, as well as the need for more empathy in care services.
A presentation on ageism in the Swedish Parliament
Finally, Ebbe Johansen and AGE Vice-President Christina Rogenstam addressed ageism and age discrimination in a conference on the following day in the Swedish parliament. The participants were members of the parliament, our member organisations NOPO and SPF seniorerna. Ebbe presented international actions on fighting ageism from AGE, World Health Organization (WHO), Madrid International Action Plan on Ageing (MIPAA) and United Nations’ Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG). He also introduced the EU Green Paper on Ageing and the European pillars social rights, with examples of human rights violations against older people in the workplace and in care homes.
In the second session Barbro Westerholm and Christina Rogenstam covered how the fight against ageism must go on.
For more information, you can contact Sarah Loriato, AGE Policy Officer on Employment and Participation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo from the Swedish Presidency of the EU