Reassessing the role of older people

As Europe experiences dramatic demographic change, companies and policymakers
are increasingly taking a different approach towards older people, be it as
potential customers with considerable spending power or as a valuable resource
in the workplace. Promoting employment opportunities for an ageing workforce,
for example, is a complex challenge that requires rethinking at company,
national and EU level. In this context, Eurofound launches a communication
campaign aimed at bringing policymakers, companies and society up to par with
the latest research data, recommendations and case examples to tackle the
challenges and explore the opportunities associated with active ageing.

From a work perspective, creating conditions for working longer means
introducing policies that maintain and promote the health of all employees,
develop and update the skills of older workers through training, and provide
suitable working conditions, including measures to reconcile work with family
and care responsibilities - of growing importance in an increasingly female
older workforce.

With the ageing of the population, policy attention is also turning to the
issue of care. While the role of the family is acknowledged as being central to
fulfilling care needs, the need for paid workers to support informal care
arrangements has become more important with changes in family formation and the
higher proportion of women - seen as the traditional family carers - entering
the labour market. Older people still have many needs for care, health and
security. Others have concerns related to loneliness, poverty or illness many
of which should be met by good public services.

'In our research over the past decade, the good news is that we have found that
European companies have changed their attitudes towards older people,' says
Robert Anderson, Eurofound's expert on ageing. ‘Increasingly, older people are
viewed as potential customers with considerable spending power and as a
valuable resource in the workplace in terms of skills and knowledge.'

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
(Eurofound) is launching a campaign on Working Longer, Living Better - Europe's
coming of age in Brussels, Belgium, on 17 March 2008. The campaign, which
explores the impact of an ageing society and workforce, providing insights into
developments at EU, national and company level, brings together Eurofound's
research findings, recommendations and examples of good practice and strategies
for change in the workplace that it has compiled over the last decade.

More info

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND)