European Year for Active Ageing

On 6 September 2010, the European Commission proposed that 2012 would be designated the European Year for Active Ageing. The initiative aims to help to create job opportunities and better working conditions for the growing number of elderly in Europe, as well as help them to play an active role in society and encourage healthy ageing.

Active ageing includes creating more opportunities for older people to continue to work, stay healthy for longer and continue to contribute to the good of society in other ways, for example through volunteering.

Calling on Member States...

The EU can play an important role in areas such as employment, social protection and inclusion, public health, information society and transport. But the main role belongs to national, regional and local governments, as well as civil society and social partners.

In 2010, according to Eurostat, there were 87 million people over 65 years old in the EU, representing 17.4% of the total population. Because women tend to live longer than men, women represent a growing proportion of all older people.

Women: longer life expectancy, but not better health

In all European countries life expectancy is greater for women than for men, but women are expected to live a slightly smaller proportion of their years in good health (61.6 years against 60.9 years). Men stay healthier longer.

There are a lot of diseases which women are more likely to get than men. There are also diseases that affect only women. For instance, older women are particularly vulnerable to breast cancer, mental disorders, musculoskeletal disorders and depression. Moreover, women react differently to diseases than men, for clinical and psychological reasons.

The promotion of health and disease prevention are important at all ages, but older women represent, in particular, a vulnerable group whose needs should be taken into account.

What are we doing to tackle this problem?

Against this backdrop, the EPP Group is organising a hearing on the "Prevention of Age-Related Diseases in Women". The hearing will be hosted by EPP Group MEP Roberta Angelilli and takes place on Thursday 7 June.

The event will analyse the European approach to increasing awareness and prevention of age-related diseases in women. Different stakeholders, including representatives of institutions, associations, NGOs, universities and research institutes specialized in this field, will be involved.

The hearing will consider older women's health from different points of view. Starting from a statistical evaluation of healthy ageing, with specific consideration of women, the speakers will focus on diseases that affect women at a certain age and will present a global overview of health services for the prevention of such diseases. The gynaecological and physiological aspects of ageing will also be discussed.

The aim of the event is also to increase knowledge, exchange information, identify priorities, analyse the EU's support for local and regional actors and put societal needs at the centre of healthy ageing policies.


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