Short summary of the planned action: Background and Aims. Large longitudinal studies show that social (e.g., community work, voluntary activities, charity work, participation in religious, political and community organisations, etc.) and productive activities (e.g., music making, crafts, painting, writing, reading, learning, etc.) contribute to elderly health to the same extent, if not more, than physical activities do (e.g., BMJ 1999, 319: 478-83). These findings have attracted specific attention in the policy framework ‘Active Ageing’ of the Word Health Organization (WHO, 2002), where the term ‘active’ refers to ‘continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, not just the ability to be physically active or to participate in the labour force’.
In September 2011, the EU-Commission has designated the year 2012 as European Year of ‘Active Ageing’. In this context, it seems particularly justified to assess current policy strategies and implementation activities in different EU-regions addressing ‘Active Ageing’, to identify possible barriers and facilitators of such activities, and to develop recommendations aiming to enhance the participation of older people in social and productive activities.
Methods. We are planning to conduct face to face interviews considering three different groups of informants: representatives from public bodies, non-governmental organizations, and senior organizations. The interviews should be conducted in at least four different EUregions. Per region, about 12-15 in-depth interviews are planned lasting about 60 minutes. For each group of informants a slightly different interview tool must be developed. EU-Regions should differ in the participation rate of older people in social or productive activities. Interviews are planned to be evaluated by means of a criteria-based content analysis. For this purpose, a criteria list must be developed from published best practice examples. Based on the findings of the content analysis, recommendations for promoting participation for active ageing are developed in regional multi-stakeholder groups. Each regional group focuses on a particular aspect of ‘Active Ageing’ (e.g., volunteering, spiritual activities, cultural activities, etc.). The developed recommendations are opted at an interregional workshop at the end of the project.
Specific objective(s): The overall objective of the project is to promote elderly health by improving participation of older people in social and productive activities. To achieve this goal, the following specific objectives of the project are defined:
1. To assess the state of the art of current regional policy strategies and implementation activities designated to foster participation of older people in social and productive activities
2. To identify barriers and facilitators of current policy strategies and implementation activities designated for ‘Active Ageing’
3. To develop recommendations of more suitable policy strategies to enhance participation of older people in social and productive activities
4. To publish the results of the project in a final report
Type of activity: analytical and awareness raising activity
Duration of activities: 01/12/2011 – 01/12/2013
Required features of possible partners
For this project, we are looking for partners from EU-regions with different policy strategies relating to ‘Active Ageing’ and different participation rates of older people in social and productive activities. From our perspective, partners from Netherland, Finland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Italy or Spain would be particularly dedicated. The partner organizations should have sound skills in English, public health and conducting interviews. The development of the interview tools as well as the complete evaluation will be performed by the lead organization.
The ‘Deutsche Institut für Gesundheitsforschung gGmbH (DIG)’ has been founded in 2007 in the form of a non-profit academic organization. The DIG has evolved from a research facility of the Saxon State Ministry of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, which closed as a consequence of an administrative reform end of 2006. The focus of the newly established institute lies in the development, implementation and evaluation of public health programmes, especially health targets programmes, where the focus conceptually lies on health inequalities and socially vulnerable groups, and new concepts for standard care and health economy, especially in the fields of health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation. Since it foundation the DIG supports the Saxon State Ministry of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection in the development and implementation of the Saxon health target ‘Active Ageing – Ageing in Health, Autonomy and Participation’. The DIG is headed by Prof. Dr. med. Karl- Ludwig Resch and Dr. med. Thomas Brockow. Both are medical doctors with comprehensive experience in epidemiology, clinical and health care research. Both together are listed with over 100 scientific papers in the database MEDLINE. The key staff of the institute comes from areas such as public health, nursing science, and medical sociology.
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