GATE-Belfast-2.JPGRATIONALE

Demographic change across Europe is producing great debate about the role of older people in our societies. Too often the ageing of our population is seen as a problem and a burden on future generations. The valuable resource that older people can be for their families, communities and society as a whole is often overlooked.

To effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing world we need need to adapt to this demographic and social challenge by actively listening to older people and ensuring they have the opportunities to debate and understand the issues and be a integral part of solutions and plans for the way forward. The promotion of active ageing strategies incorporating intergenerational activity will help to counteract the deficit model of ageing that does not take into account the valuable resource that older people are to society and the diverse contributions they make to our communities.

The European Commission, national and regional governments are involved in active ageing strategies, seeking ways to ensure older people remain active within their communities and enhance their ‘employability’. Inviting and empowering older people to age in good physical and mental health and to contribute more actively to their communities and to the labour market will help us as a society to better cope with the demographic challenges in a way that is fair and sustainable for all generations.

Only in this way can we achieve a better quality of life not only for today's older people but for future generations of older people. This project will inform the debate without stereotypes or prejudice on how we adapt to our ageing society. It will give older people the opportunity to discuss and debate the factors that contribute to active ageing and to consider the role of education, government, health bodies and other stakeholders in advancing the active ageing agenda. Given that 2012 is the European year of Active ageing and Interegenerational solidarity this project will contribute significantly by raising awareness of the issues and promoting the year in the member states.