Our society is facing major challenges from demographic, environmental and lifestyle factors, and it is expected that by 2050 number of European Citizens over the age of 65 will have increased by 177%. The impact will be significant on our health services and this is already reflected by an increased financial burden on direct (e.g. hospital cost) and indirect costs (e.g. societal costs for sick leave from work and homecare).

In an effort to address this major demographic challenge, the European Union launched a major awareness campaign across Europe by designating 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (EY2012) as well as a unique pilot project: the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.

The EY2012 served as a framework for raising awareness, identifying and disseminating best practice and, more importantly, encouraging policymakers at all levels to promote active ageing and to support greater cooperation between the generations. This European initiative was supported by a coalition of over 40 organisations forming the EY2012 Coalition, including EFORT who joined as an official partner. As part of EFORT’s commitment to the EY2012, EFORT organised a dedicated Symposium at the annual EFORT Congress in Berlin in May 2012, entitle ‘Europe on the Move’. The Symposium which gathered European Commission representative and other European Stakeholders including patients groups, gave the orthopaedic community a platform on which to discuss its role in preserving the mobility, autonomy and quality of life of the elderly.

The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing programme is aimed at increasing healthy life years and will stimulate action on prevention, early detection, integrated care, active and healthy aging, and strengthening primary care. The pilot partnership provides a forum in which all interested actors can cooperate around these objectives. EFORT has been involved since the early phases of the project (end of 2010) by responding to a consultation to create the framework of the EIP and contributing to stakeholders workshop run by the Commission to determine the priority areas of the EIP. EFORT is now partnering with other organisations on a project, ProFouND, Prevention of Falls Network for Dissemination, which has been granted EU funding.

The Partnership offers EFORT the opportunity to work with  other actors from patient groups, academics, medical societies to industry around a common goal – increasing healthy and active life years by 2 – and to contribute in developing innovative solutions in a pilot project which could be rolled out across Europe.

EFORT will continue working with the EU institutions and relevant stakeholders with the aim to further position the importance of good musculoskeletal health for an ‘Active and Healthy Ageing’.

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