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Potentials of the European Silver Economy
- 30 Mar
0 days left (ends 30 Mar)
We have successfully closed the first project phase of “Potentials of the European Silver Economy” with 95 ideas, 698 participants, 119 comments and 273 votes. We'd like to thank all participants for taking the time and contributing to our online ideation!
In a next step we validated these results with participants. These results are archived here. Please also visit our project website.
If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the Silver Economy study team at: silver-economy(at)technopolis-group.com
MOST DISCUSSED PARAGRAPHS
P39 Platform to highlight the experience, compet
P25 The evolution of ICT systems and the large n
P1 Foods or food components that may provide be
P81 Approximately 3 million elderly people and p
P16 Let’s say goodbye to stereotypes, presuming
P18 Digital solutions (e-health apps and devices
P9 Online platforms and technology can be used
P68 Encouraging dialogue and social gathering am
P66 We need to create a good environment for eld
P32 TRAVELABILITY – TOURISM FOR ALL. WE TRY TO G
P59 Robots become more and more able to interact
P29 Already many ICT solutions exist to support
P2 Tourism is a major source of revenue for man
P36 Batteries in cars and trucks, are only recyc
P19 Social services play a key role in ensuring
P30 Purpose This project over €1,5M is part of t
P5 There is a need for a more wide-spread diffu
P50 In a similar way as shifts of time between
P54 Do you, too, find it difficult to relate to
Silver Navigation Policy is prototyping diff
P79 We live longer, and digital seniors are arou
P33 Elderly people have a lot to transmit.
P34 Everywhere megapoles attract active people i
P20 Time ago 2007 we presented the proposal CAST
P26 dear webside my name is silvia and i am
P14 An alarm system should be installed in the p
P23 There exist travel and mobility schemes for
P15 Older people have ideas, experience, knowled
P13 When older people retire from the workforce
P63 Until 2011, the Cologne Institute for Econom
P83 FARMA|inove, the Association for Entrepreneu
P3 Ageing populations offer opportunities for e
P80 We are a group of young entrepreneurs from T
RetroBrain R&D: Aging healthily by ag
P74 The increasing life expectancy of the popula
P69 The lack of oral hygiene leads to diseases o
P17 Currently, different stakeholders from both
P12 Those of us who did not grow up in
P60 This idea is part of the UNCAP project. UNCA
P31 We have developed a unique Wellbeing Monitor
P55 In the past few years there has been a
P21 Europe’s Silver Economy just like the older
P22 This is not a new idea, but it is
P47 silver economy could be the test bed of a
P44 The digital active ID can sense and monitor
P40 Universities are typically engaged with prep
P38 The elderly tend to be on many medicines and
P37 By vaccinating either for flu, shingles or p
MOST ACTIVE USERS
|Telecentre Europe aisbl||3||1|
|Carlos Vaz de Carvalho||1||7|
|Ferran Cabrer i Vilagut||1||5|
|Willeke van Staalduinen||1||4|
|Gema Ibañez Sanchez||0||2|
|RIN Healthy Ageing||0||2|
|Natalia Susana Silva||0||1|
Social services play a key role in ensuring the quality of life of persons with disabilities, in particular through quality care services. The ageing population has significantly increased the demand for quality care, in particular in community-based services. This has led to the health and social services sector become the biggest job creating sector in Europe since 2008 (EC sources).
Yet, this has been achieved despite significant cuts in public expenditure towards this sector (in real terms) in nearly all EU countries. This has placed additional pressure on social service providers to provide quality services; with obvious consequences on the working conditions and wages of the workforce. As a result, staff shortages in social services are significant in Europe, despite the significant job creation potential of the sector; a matter recognisied by the Social Protection Committee, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee; as well as Social Services Europe and the European federation of Public Service Unions.
The European Union must launch an Action Plan to Unlock the Job Creation Potential of the Social Services sector to ensure high quality social services for all, including the elderly, in the future. Read the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities' Position Paper for further information (attached)
Digital solutions (e-health apps and devices, digital platforms, etc. etc.) can indeed contribute to prevent social isolation, improve health and general well-being of older people, especially for those with reduced mobility.
However, providing the solutions themselves will not be enough, because many older people lack the necessary skills to interact with and through digital technologies. Therefore, any technical solution should be accompanied with related trainings to equip the target group with those skills and make sure that they can take full advantage of the solutions. Telecenters (public enters where people can use computers and Internet) around Europe and similar organisations have done tremendous work in empowering older people to participate in the digital world. Some examples are: Get Online Week https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x08-ans13ek in UK, IT-guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOvdGtULJ_Y in Sweden, Silver Surfers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv2YHC0Ai3I in Serbia, e-participation day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5dS42j6-HE in Lithuania). These centers are places where older people feel welcome, less intimidated, where trainings are made for them and with them, tailored to their needs.
A particularly successful approach is the intergenerational learning where young people teach the elderly digital skills and they teach them life skills in return. This approach increases mutual understanding and tolerance and puts each individual in both roles at the same time – that of learner and that of mentor.
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Currently, different stakeholders from both non-profit and private entities offer care services for elders in an uncoordinated way and paid through separate budgets. If a healthcare reference area could offer all such services in a bundled way, managed by one single provider with a focus on user-centred care, the care services for seniors could improve notably. The senior citizen can rely on one single care record and does not need to reexplain again and again personal needs and requests. Joint services, such as occupational therapy checks, can be done conjunctively, even for groups of seniors with shared needs.
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When older people retire from the workforce their expertise in whatever roles they were employed for in the labour market are no longer utilised. The idea would be is to utilise this expertise in the voluntary sector. For example, when structural problems occur with buildings, not only would employed engineers be called in, but a pool of retired engineers in the industry could be called in. The years of experience and crstallised knowledge would then not be wasted. Similarly, people who are expert in setting up databases could be called upon to help organisations manage the setting up of certain systems. Similarly, retired business people could be heavily involved in the implementation of a volunteer expert group.
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Let’s say goodbye to stereotypes, presuming that entrepreneurship is only for young people while elderly are inactive and/or less creative. This is the age of the CreAgers, tapping in to an undervalued source for innovations, ideas and start-up companies.
For too long, the ageing population has been framed as a financial burden on society, putting a distance between generations while solidarity and intergenerational interaction are essential for our future.
We have to take better into account the growing importance of elderly both as consumers, as a market for new technological solutions and – not least – as sources for new innovations and economic growth.
The public perception of being elderly must be changed from solely as someone who has to be taken care of for the costs of society into a group of influential persons with resources to affect our future and create gains for our present. With increasing living standards and the growth of expected healthy life years the new reality predicts that former forties is today’s sixties.
In fact: We have the arrival of the CreAgers, the new creative class of elderly, who starts businesses, who assist as advisors for others or who in other ways are or desire to be active within innovation and entrepreneurship.
At the end of 2014, the Dutch government turned to former EU commissioner Neelie Kroes – 73 years of age at the time – to strengthen the international position of startups in the Netherlands. ‘Her extensive experience and personality make her the ideal person to pursue and support this international ambition’ the Dutch minister of Economic Affairs explained.
As Special Envoy, Kroes spent 18 months providing ‘(…) a new generation of startups the opportunity to develop their talent, to innovate and to create jobs in the Netherlands’ to use her own words.
It worked out great. The – mostly young – entrepreneurs fully profited from the experience and exposure of Neelie Kroes.
Unfortunately, the idea that elderly entrepreneurs are an underrepresented group in the Start-up community, while the potential is unmistakable, was never really addressed.
More elderly establish start-ups
In Denmark in the period 2004 to 2012 there was an increase of 33 % of 60 – 64 years old who established start-ups. In the group of 65 – 69 years old the increase was 67 %. More than 61.000 over 60 years of age were self-employed in 2013.
But these numbers cover the fact that many highly skilled elderly, like engineers, are released from their positions despite their qualifications and therefore choose to work for themselves.
So it appears, that on one hand there is an increasing willingness and desire for elderly to establish own companies while a second group is composed of those who are doing so because they are not welcome on the labor market due to their age – or rather – due to the public perception of what age means.
These tendencies are certainly not unique to Denmark given here as an example but can be found widespread in the EU countries or even globally.
Initiate local or regional networks: CreAger Hubs
CreAgers form an innovation-loop: knowing people’s needs, turning this into concepts, products, businesses and using the user experiences to adjust or develop new concepts, etc.
We should therefore strongly consider how to give the CreAgers the best working conditions. This would be a huge benefit for the individual CreAger and for society as such.
However, despite that elderly harbor a huge potential for innovation they suffer from the disregard by society, the lack of focus on CreAgers and even bureaucratic rules which may punish CreAgers for wanting to earn their own income or supplement their pensions. The public perception and policies thus have to be targeted.
Part of the solution may be the establishment of local or regional CreAger hubs. In particular we propose that the triangle between CreAgers, elderly as a market for new technologies and as consumers and the communication dealing with the public perception and the policies should be inter-linked.
Fig 1: Local or regional triangle collaboration, example of a CreAger Hub
A CreAger Hub may ensure an efficient working level coordination and concrete results can be measured to document the effect and justify the investments. Additionally cities and regions can brand themselves as being CreAger friendly, having an attractive CreAger environment, which again may influence on the decision of where resourceful elderly decide to live.
Concrete activities and International Collaboration
As indicated concrete activities may for example focus on (1) elderly as inspirators and entrepreneurs; (2) new services and new technologies targeting welfare for elderly; (3) changing the public perception of elderly and promote better conditions for CreAgers.
Many well proven concepts are already available which can easily be adopted to serve the local hubs and new ones may be developed when necessary. There also exist efforts directed towards elderly and creativity but these are scattered and mostly not contained within an overall strategic view on the importance of CreAgers.
The CreAger hubs may again be interconnected in a wider network as this can assist to e.g. learn from best practices, enhance market access for CreAgers, influence national or EU policies and attract external funding and private investments. And the oter way round, an international CreAger network may assist to establish regional or local hubs.
CreAger may even be a global network and initial discussions have in fact revealed significant interest in e.g. India and the US. It would be truly exiting if so many countries and cultures could be brought together as this may create a learning environment with a high critical mass.
Finally, CreAgers should be a topic of inter-disciplinary research between e.g. innovation research, gerontology, and socio-economic research to provide deeper knowledge about the CreAgers. This would be a very good investment for society as it may assist to provide solutions and policy recommendations.
Welcome to the CreAgers – Time is on their side.
Peter Frank, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daan Bultje, email@example.com
Jaanus Pikani, firstname.lastname@example.org
 Ældresagen, report 2013.
 Politiken, 23 November 2014: Ældre fyres fra det offentlige – nu ansætter seniorerne sig selv
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Older people have ideas, experience, knowledge, networks and in some cases access to capital. Although this is happening already, we need more older people to set up businesses. This can include professional services, businesses built on previous hobbies and passtimes as well as socially innovative business models aimed at meeting the needs of other older people. It can also include self employment and micro enterprises. keep older people active and engaged in society, it will help keep older people financially independent of state benefits, it will help provide needed goods and services and make sure that valuable knowledge and networks are not lost. Also in some cases older people have capital (property, inheritance, pension pots etc) and we need to find new ways to unlock this wealth for mutually productive uses.
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An alarm system should be installed in the public bathrooms, for example in the form of a cord connected to an alarm bell. This would ensure that older people can use these bathrooms with the security that they could call help at any time, should it become necessary.
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Online platforms and technology can be used to make the process of accessing financial services easier for older generations. The focus should be on new products or services relevant to older clients, for example for managing and transferring funds. Solutions should combat issues such as decreased independence and mobility by removing the necessity to physically visit a financial provider in person. This idea could also keep older people from being exposed to abuses or scams.
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The gaming industry does not currently consider older people as a main target group. Older peoples’ mental age can be improved via cognitive training games that are designed to improve memory. There is an opportunity for the gaming industry to have a greater focus on the needs and interest of older people and to design apps that have mental health benefits and are fun.
With older age, many people need increasing support with daily tasks. While nursing homes are one solution to provide such support, most people prefer to stay in their own home if possible. Support can then be provided by carers who come to perform certain tasks. Alternatively, some of the support such carers provide can be supplied by smart home solutions. This care can be supplied remotely, and monitoring systems can ensure that swift action can be taken should there be a medical issue. Smart home solutions can help increase both the security and comfort for older people in this situation.
Mobility needs change with increasing age, some old people cannot drive cars themselves anymore to the same extend they used to - they could profit from new mobility solutions.
There is a need for a more wide-spread diffusion and integration of technologies that are user-friendly for older people and help overcome social isolation. A number of technologies exist that allow fostering a creative support system and interaction of older people with a community. Applications can connect older adults, caregivers, health care providers, and social services via an online platform in a more flexible way.
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Older people have a potentially longer medical history and a higher likelihood of several illnesses at once, which all need to be taken into account when treating a patient. Some older people may also not be able to express their health status, for example because of dementia. In addition, older people may receive care in different setups such as hospitals and care homes. Electronic and mobile health solutions could aid in increasing the quality of care for older people, also across such different setups.
Ageing populations offer opportunities for education and diversification in the workforce. This relates to older people as consumers as well as producers. Life-long learning can be promoted and the resources of older employees and entrepreneurs should be recognised and benefits drawn from that. ‘Age-friendly’ universities and workplaces should be developed and rewarded. This may include ergonomics and design at the physical workplace or increased opportunities for e-learning and distance working to facilitate participation of older people who are less mobile or have other health issues. Furthermore, with e-learning solutions participants can themselves determine at which pace they want to learn.
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Tourism is a major source of revenue for many EU countries and there is a growing number of international tourists. There is increasing focus on visitor ‘experience’ and niche markets and the cohort aged 50 and older is one of the most active demographics in travel and leisure and spend €120bn per year globally. The EU should identify the 50+ cohort as a main target audience. This would address the need for an improved infrastructure, accessible transport, age-friendly hotels and B&Bs including ICT solutions.
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Foods or food components that may provide benefits beyond basic nutrition can be custom designed to deliver personalised nutrition. There is an opportunity to identify the specific age-related needs in the current global functional food market and to develop products related to prevention/treatment/management of particular diseases or condition. Diseases such as dehydration, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s that are more prevalent amongst the older generations could, to some extent, be prevented or treated by means of personalized nutrition.
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