More than 87 million people in Europe are over 65 years old. It is estimated that, by 2060, this figure will rise to around 174 million. Since 2000, life expectancy has risen by 2.6 years for women and by 3.3 years for men. This demographic trend in Europe is therefore of prime social, economic and political significance.
Scientific progress, biomedical research and new medical products have brought changes in health issues in the western world. This has led to a considerable increase in long-term health care and, therefore, new challenges for health-care systems in terms of sickness prevention, promotion of health, content and quality of health services, organisation of hospital care, training of professionals and economic sustainability.
The European Union’s 2020 Strategy is intended to ensure socially inclusive growth, an inclusive labour market and the reduction of poverty and social exclusion. It is therefore of the highest importance to promote healthy and active ageing, and to ensure that countries take a broad approach when implementing their own strategies.
Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly should examine the different systems in the member States and the future trends. This would lead to proposing common policies aimed at guaranteeing the rights of the elderly in the context of solidarity between generations, and at providing the support of the authorities in ensuring new approaches to this important issue.