Summit Marks EU’s Commitment to Building an Age-friendly Europe by 2020

Official Event of Ireland’s EU Presidency Hosted by Global Coalition on Aging and Ageing Well Network Will Drive Policy and Innovation for an Aging Europe

DUBLIN (13 June 3013) – The EU Summit on Active and Healthy Aging, beginning today in Dublin, will tackle the challenge of population aging, one of the most pressing issues facing Europe – and the globe. It comes just one day after the death of the world’s oldest person underscoring that aging can be characterized by health, productivity and optimism.  Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura died yesterday of natural causes at the age of 116, having worked  beyond retirement age and into his 90s, highlighting the folly of keeping with a retirement concept invented in another century.

As Europe’s aging population has already begun to experience health, economic and fiscal strife, this unique Summit seeks to implement solutions that turn this challenge into an opportunity.

“Today’s aging challenge results from a shift in the proportion of old to young, creating a demographic make-up the world has never before experienced,” said Michael Hodin, PhD, Executive Director of the Global Coalition on Aging. “If left unaddressed, it will create a peculiar mismatch between 21st-century demographic realities and 20th-century public policy.  Yet those who meet the challenge with vision and innovation will be the winners in the 21st century’s competitiveness race.”

The majority of children born in Europe today will live to be at least 100 years old. Unless early action is taken, this rapidly increasing number of older people, exacerbated by plummeting birth rates, will be a huge burden on European finances. By bringing together global policymakers, business leaders, academics, economic experts and NGOs the Summit will explore ways to add two extra healthy years to people’s lives, ensuring that older people will be able to remain active and productive in society and in the workforce.

“To lead change for this demographic challenge in a sustainable way, we must create new competition, new jobs and incentives for new innovation,” said Esko Aho, Senior Fellow at Harvard University and former Prime Minister of Finland.  “From this Summit, we look to share not only good ideas, but also good execution.”

The centerpiece of the Summit is this evening’s signing of the 2013 Dublin Declaration on Age Friendly Cities and Communities by more than 50 mayors from across nearly 20 European countries. The ceremony will be led by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí. As it will establish Europe-wide commitment to the age-friendly movement, it will also mark the official launch of Dublin city as an age-friendly city.

“The [aging] challenges can be overcome if we act now to ensure a joined-up approach,” said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. “An older population will create demand for new types of products and services, so businesses must prepare for this change….We must ensure that this issue remains a top priority for all policymakers throughout Europe,” she said.

Over two days, the Summit will explore aging through a life course approach to staying active and healthy. From rethinking the way we reach and plan for retirement to promoting the prevention of debilitating age-related skin conditions, and from reinventing the traditional view of senior care to investing in programs to fight the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease, the Summit will showcase some of the best innovations from across the globe and therefore lead to tangible solutions.

“Aging is an international challenge and that’s why it’s so important to develop a Europe-wide strategy,” said Anne Connolly, Director of the Ageing Well Network. “We’re very excited to host this Summit in Ireland, and I hope that this will be the start of a new thinking on aging throughout Europe,” she said.

Summit speakers include:

  • Esko Aho, Senior Fellow at Harvard University and former Prime Minister of Finland
  • John Beard, Director of the Department of Ageing and Life Course, World Health Organization
  • Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
  • Baroness Sally Greengross, Member of the UK House of Lords and President of the International Longevity Centre UK
  • Phil Hogan, Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
  • Jeff Huber, President of Home Instead Senior Care
  • Marko Mrsnik, Director in the European Sovereign Ratings Group at Standard and Poor’s
  • David Ryan, Global Director of Health Business Innovation at Intel Corporation

The Summit is hosted by the Global Coalition on Aging, in partnership with Ireland’s Ageing Well Network and with the support of the European Innovation Partnership. It is an official event of Ireland’s EU Presidency.

For further information, see www.ahaconference2013.ie.

Latest Developments

We keep our members and partners in touch with the most recent updates and opinions in the worldwide dialogue on population longevity and related issues.

A Bipartisan Bill Could Prevent The Next Pandemic

In Washington, Republicans and Democrats are typically at loggerheads when it comes to healthcare policy. Just consider the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which made extensive changes to Medicare and also extended Affordable Care Act subsidies. Every single congressional Democrat voted for the legislation, while every single member of the GOP voted against it. But occasionally, a bill is such an obviously good idea, and so desperately needed, that it commands significant bipartisan support. The PASTEUR Act, co-sponsored by 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the House and two members of each party in the Senate, is just such a bill.

Korea Must Act Now to Combat Growing AMR Threat

Public officials are overlooking one of the gravest long-term threats to the Korean people, the health system, and economy: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Some pathogens ― bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses ― have evolved strains that resist the antimicrobial medications we currently have available to fight them. Health care professionals often must watch helplessly as patients succumb to infections that antibiotics could once have easily beaten. They know that new antimicrobials, including and especially antibiotics, could easily gain the victory ― but they have none at their disposal.

Policy Statement on the Impact of Price Negotiations on Innovation, Healthy Aging and Equity

As the CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and a newly formed cross-sector Alliance for Health Innovation, we write to express our deep concern with the current legislation that allows for price “negotiations” in Medicare – a thinly veiled signal for America’s plunge into price controls that will have a devastating and adverse impact on biopharmaceutical innovation and our nations’ ability to support healthy aging. 

Ignoring the ‘Silver Economy’ May Be Getting Costly for Brands

In an ad for Airbnb that premiered earlier this year, a couple checks into a cozy Spanish villa. To the tune of Jay-Z's cover of "Me and My Girlfriend," the ad shows the pair settling into their rental and setting their collective dial to chill. They play ping-pong, sip some wine, and get ready for a night on the town. They're also in their 80s, celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary. In no way does the ad characterize the couple as elderly or portray them as needing special aid or services — they are just active people who happen to be old. It's a rare example of ads featuring a realistic depiction of aging.

Health Equity Promise and That Innovation Thing

President Biden has pledged his administration to defeat cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases that target America’s aging population. To achieve these lofty goals, bold words must be backed up by bold actions.

Roundtable Report Highlights Importance of Immunizing Canada’s Caregivers Against Influenza, Identifying Challenges and Opportunities to Protect This Critical Group

The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) today released a report summarizing key insights from an expert roundtable on vaccinating Canada’s caregivers against influenza. The roundtable, held virtually, brought together leading Canadian health policy experts, family caregivers, patient advocacy groups, aging experts, and other thought leaders to discuss challenges and strategies to reach this critically important yet hard-to-reach group.