MoPAct brings together stakeholders and top ageing researchers in Tallinn
MoPAct, a major European research project looking at how to unleash the power of active ageing and making ageing an asset for European societies, has hold its second stakeholder forum in Tallinn on 28 April 2015. At the forum, some of the upcoming research was presented and many insights were gained about the specific situation in Estonia and other central and eastern European countries.
Estonian Minister of Health and Labour: many challenges!
Ranmar Vassiljev, the Estonian Minister for Helth and Labour gave an overview over the challenges Estonia is facing when it comes to active ageing: the media keep focussing on the costs of ageing rather than the positive aspects, age discrimination is still present in the labour market, many challenges persist in the fight against poverty, especially for female pensioners. Life-long learning stays very much focussed on working life and does not include a broader aspect of ageing well and healthily. While unemployment is high, many pensioners continue working to compensate for low pensions, but this is not an option for everyone. Also, more focus should be put on the prevention of disease rather than on the reaction to it.
Some answers from MoPAct: economic aspects
Alan Walker, professor at the University of Sheffield, UK, gave an overview over the MoPAct project: transforming demographic change into an asset for European societies. The project brings together over 30 universities and discipline rangeing from economics, labour market studies and pension experts to social care, participation, biogerontology or age-friendly environments. Tarmo Valkonen, explained that many of the problems of pension systems could be solved by linking retirement age to life expectancy. Of course, this implies increases in healthy life expectancy to keep up with rising pension age. Caspar Van Ewijk presented the idea of personal pension accounts with social risk sharing, which could be a middle ground between statutory defined-benefit and private pay-as-you-go pensions, guaranteeing a certain status in society and not a defined benefit. Gerd Naegele presented some good practices on employment of older people from Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands.
Health, social engagement, and the built environment
Dorly Deeg focussed on health and well-being, showcasing that social participation of older people is linked to a better health status. Therefore, targeted interventions for social engagement of people in poor health can yield positive outcomes. Beatrix Grubeck-Loebenstein presented the work package on Biogerontology, talking about how certain dietary restrictions can be linked to higher life expectancy and better health. Joseph Hilbert explained how suitable built and technological environments can lower the disability threshold and allow people with impairments to fully participate in society even longer – by embracing the opportunities of information and communication technologies. Kai Leichsenring talked about the need of long-term care providers to involve end-users in care solutions.
The way forward: evaluation of good practices
The next steps of the MoPAct project is to evaluate hundreds of good practices that have been collected throughout the disciplines and work packages, in order to identify the best ones, that show measurable impact on active ageing. The aim is to help member states to realise their potential for active ageing, therefore building societies that can reap the benefits of longer, more active and healthier lives.
- The full report of the MoPAct Stakeholder Forum can be downloaded here.
- Homepage of the MoPAct project: http://mopact.group.shef.ac.uk
- AGE involvement in MoPAct: http://age-platform.eu/age-work/age-projects/health-and-long-term-care/mopact
- MOPACT Active Ageing Forum delivers first solutions for active ageing across disciplines
- MoPACT on Twitter: @MOPACTfp7