Older Persons as Local Agents of Change – AGE joint webinar looks at how to engage older people at local level


AGE jointly organised and moderated a webinar dedicated to the involvement of older persons at local level. This event was part of the European Week of Regions and Cities, a key event held every year to enable networking and exchange of good practices among local and regional authorities. This edition is fully online and our session was an opportunity to share strategies, experiences and good practices developed by local authorities to empower and engage with older persons.

Increasing participation in older age: good for citizens and society

The four invited speakers have shown how much older persons are not only service beneficiaries but also critical agents of change. Based on the results of the ACPA project, Erik van Ossenbruggen insisted on the benefit of a stronger engagement not only for older persons but also for the whole society. Willeke Van Staalduinen shared the experience of the AFE Activists project which has developed training material and notably helped to foster involvement of local communities of older persons from migrant background. Luana Rotari explained about the model developed by the T.A.A.F.E project which is looking to foster the development of age-friendly environments in the Alpine space. Last but not least, Paul Mc Garry insisted on how crucial it is to have a vibrant community of activists, a committed administration, a strong political leadership and the support of academics to move forward.

A supportive policy context

The current international and EU political context offers key hooks to continue supporting and developing such initiatives: the WHO Decade of Healthy Ageing, the forthcoming Council Conclusion on ‘Human Rights, Participation and Well-Being of Older Persons in the Era of Digitalisation’ and the future Green Paper on Ageing to be released by the European Commission early 2021. Bearing in mind how much older persons have been marginalised during the COVID-19 outbreak, the event has been a concrete contribution to the call made by the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres: “let’s not treat older people as invisible or powerless. Many older people depend on an income and are fully engaged in work, in family life, in teaching and learning, and in looking after others. Their voices and leadership count.”

As clearly expressed in the concluding remarks, we need to:

  • be ambitious and develop holistic and long-term strategy towards 2030, acknowledging the ageing dimension dimension of ageing and paying attention to issues such as differences between neighbourhoods, scarcity of space and the diversity of stakeholders and population groups;
  • learn, monitor and evaluate to support reliable knowledge exchange;
  • raise public awareness about ageing and turn negativism and stereotypes into a positive view on ageing;
  • continue linking up between the different governance level and make the best use of networking opportunities.

The event has been recorded and can be watched via this link.


Useful resources:

For more information, please contact Julia Wadoux, julia.wadoux@age-platform.eu

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