Edvard Been, chair of the JPI MYBL welcomed attendees at the conference on ‘Increasing the knowledge base on demographic change’ and reminded everyone that the purpose of the programme was to establish new ways of collaborating so that partners coming from different disciplines and sectors could better face the challenge of an ageing society. He pointed out that the increased number of older people in our societies represents a challenge to ensuring independence and quality of life for older people.

Innovative projects around ageing and care

The project FACTAGE, whose objective is to recommend evidence-based policy scenarios for more equitable labour and retirement options across populations and generations, was presented by Mikkel Barslund, from the Centre for European Policy Studies. FACTAGE advocates that there is substantial scope for increasing the length of average working lives while promoting active ageing but acknowledges that this requires paying careful attention to questions of equality for older people.

The project COORDINATES, which was presented during the project forum, aims to study how technology can be adapted to enable self-management in older adults. The project will address current challenges for seniors with dementia who are living at home, with regard to their involvement in decision-making around care, the use of technology to support self-management and inform decision-making.

Priorities for the future

In addition to these innovative projects, the chairs of the societal advisory board of the JPI MYBL presented the priorities that will shape the work done by the programme over the next couple of years. These include:

  • Public attitudes to ageing

  • Policies and strategies to ensure engagement of older people

  • Changing intergenerational relations and policies

  • The relationship between paid and unpaid work

  • Ways of integrating public policy

  • Measuring wellbeing for older people

  • The role of migration in demographic change

  • The experience of the oldest old

Finally, Ritu Sadana, Senior Health Advisor, Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organisation, highlighted that a global transformation of policies aimed at improving the quality of life of older people requires a global strategy. This would help inform local strategies, he said. In order to do so he explained, it is necessary to find ways to translate research and data available into policies and initiatives at the local level.

This Conference was a great opportunity to learn about innovative projects that are being developed by the partners of the JPI MYBL and to explore new ways to continue working together at EU level and beyond to improve the life condition of older people.