The population of Europe has undergone a fundamental change in its age structure, with people living longer than ever before. Higher life expectancy and consistently lower birth rates has meant that our population is becoming steadily older, with over half the EU’s population predicted to be over-65 by 2070.
The ageing population brings many challenges surrounding quality of life for older people and their carers, as well as impacts on the labour market. These challenges need to be addressed now if we are to ensure that we can continue to live healthy, active and independent lives into our old age.
But the ageing population also represents a big opportunity. With the right community of experts and the right support, we can tap into today’s world of connected technology and create solutions and products that can change people’s lives now and in the future.
What we do
We are AAL, a funding programme that aims to create better quality of life for older people and to strengthen industrial opportunities in the field of healthy ageing technology and innovation.
We do this by funding projects that work towards creating market-ready products and services for older people. Each project consists of SMEs, research bodies and end-user organisations. Since 2008, we have funded over 220 projects.
Our projects address a number of issues, including management of chronic conditions, social inclusion, access to online services, mobility, management of daily activities, and support from informal carers.
The specific aims of the AAL Programme are to:
Foster the emergence of innovative ICT-based products, services and systems for ageing well at home, in the community, and at work.
Create a critical mass of research, development and innovation at EU level in technologies and services for ageing well, including the establishment of a favourable environment for participation of SMEs.
Help create the market conditions for the industrial exploitation of healthy ageing products by providing a European framework that supports the development of standardised solutions and facilitates their adaptation to local, regional and national levels to account for varying social preferences and regulatory requirements.
AAL is co-financed by the European Commission (through Horizon 2020) and 17 countries until 2020 for an approximate budget of €700 million.
How we do it
Each year, we issue a call designed to reflect the key challenges we face as a society with an ageing population, from helping older people stay more socially active to providing support to those with dementia.
Projects are then funded according to specific criteria, including the need for significant involvement by SMEs and industry, a realistic timeframe for trialling and commercialising the product or service being developed, the inclusion of organisations from at least three different countries, and the involvement of older people in the co-creation of these solutions. See How to Apply for Funding
Once we have funded a project, we aim to support it as much as we can to help it achieve success. Our AAL2Business programme provides free resources and access to experts to help projects make the transition to becoming a viable business, and our Market Observatory provides key insights into the growing market for healthy ageing products.
We are active in the wider world of active and healthy ageing, and have many partnerships across the sector that support older people and help to increase activity in the healthy ageing market. This includes ongoing work with EIP AHA and Age Europe as well as the coordination of our Smart Ageing Prize. See Ageing Well Universe.
Every year, we bring together all of the people who are important to us, from industry and academia to care providers and the older people themselves for our annual AAL Forum, a vibrant and exciting event that showcases the programme’s many successful projects and the products and services they have developed to support older people. Through interactive workshops and vibrant debate, the forum also helps drive the healthy ageing agenda. See AAL Forum
Download the Executive Summary to the AAL Forum 2017
What we are achieving
Through our extensive programme of identifying challenges, issuing calls, funding projects, supporting commercial development and fostering the growing market for healthy ageing products, we are making a real difference in people’s lives and to the European economy. See Success Stories
Through our projects, we are:
Extending the time people are able to live in their preferred environment by increasing their autonomy, self-confidence and mobility
Supporting the preservation of health and functional capabilities of older people
Promoting better and healthier lifestyles for individuals at risk
Enhancing security, prevent social isolation and create networks of support around older people
Supporting carers, families and care organisations
Getting more out of our investment into our ageing society