Many nations worldwide are facing challenges related to demographic change and in caring for older people. Apart from health-related age impairments such as chronic health conditions, declining cognitive abilities and increasing frailty, older people are at risk of facing situations leading to potential social exclusion and increased loneliness which greatly detracts from their quality of life. Digital solutions have the potential to address these challenges and, especially, those aimed at creating smart living environments for ageing people. However, it is paramount to ensure user acceptance by incorporating user-centric design methodologies. Collaboration and cooperation with international partners have the potential to enhance synergies and innovation.
With this in mind, in 2017, an international cooperation to foster smart living environments for ageing people was established between the EU and Japan, funding two dedicated cooperations- ACCRA and CARESSES- to streamline the regional efforts addressing the challenges associated with population ageing, and for the improvement of the living conditions for older people. The recently launched project e-VITA continues to strengthen cooperation between European and Japanese partners on active and healthy ageing with the aim to establish new common standards and policies to be exploited and transferred across Europe, Japan and worldwide. Finally, the International Digital Health Cooperation for Preventive, Integrated, Independent and Inclusive Living (IDIH) project works on promoting and increasing international cooperation to advance digital health and active ageing in the EU, USA, Canada, China, Japan and South Korea.
On global level, the World Health Organisation has declared 2020-2030 a Decade of Healthy Ageing, aiming to bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media, and the private sector for ten years of concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live. The Covid-19 pandemic has further emphasised the need for such concerted actions and shown how telehealth, remote care and robotics solutions enable the protection of medical staff and help patients being remotely cared for at their home.
This platform aims to disseminate related knowledge and experience, as well as to promote exchange of best practices and cooperation on addressing the challenges related to active and healthy living and ageing with digital technologies on international level. Related stakeholders from all around the world are invited to join and contribute to this dialogue.