Ageing - the only true democracy
IN-4-AHA presence at EWAHA 2022
The European Week of Active and Healthy Ageing (EWAHA) is an annual event organised as part of the AAL (Active Assisted Living Program) co-financed by the European Commission.
The EWAHA is an initiative of the AAL Programme, which aims to improve the quality of life for older people and to strengthen the industrial opportunities in the field of active and healthy ageing through the usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
EWAHA 25-26-27 October 2022 was the final edition of the European Week of Active and Healthy Ageing, building on 14 years of legacy of the AAL Association’s AAL Forum, sharing knowledge and showcasing innovation at all levels in the active and healthy ageing sector.
The event was hosted in the beautiful city of Gdańsk. The IN-4-AHA team presented an exhibition booth and met with stakeholders within the active and healthy ageing community, among which several interesting startups with innovative solutions. This was also a great opportunity to share some of the outcomes from the IN-4-AHA project toolkit and roadmap for scaling.
The programme of EWAHA 2022 consisted of interactive workshops, discussions, plenary sessions, exhibitions, and match-making activities. The focus of this final conference was to reflect and evaluate the last decade of the AAL legacy but also open the door to the future and see how we can address tomorrow’s challenges in the European agenda for ageing.
The Mayor of Gdansk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz opened the event at the European Solidarity Centre, followed by an unexpected appearance from Lech Wałęsa, the former president of Poland, a Nobel piece laureate and the man who spearheaded the Solidarity movement in the 1980s.
The pandemic has changed the landscape in which we all work permanently. The advantages of digital solutions have now been verified and made of use by necessity, and we no longer live in a world where people must be persuaded of the benefits of digitalisation.
At the IN-4-AHA booth we met with many innovative solutions to simplify active and healthy ageing. One example was Robert Huber, CEO for Bellurbis, www.easierphone.com presented how a clean homescreen provides you with an easy to use smartphone, without excluding the apps you want and need. An additional feature for insecure smartphone users is the possibility to install Easierphone assistant, to provide support remotely on someone else’s Easierphone. Robert has been using Easierphone himself for the past two years, to make sure that this is not only an app for the elderly but also includes all functions needed for everyone.
Another company was German Xtrpy were Michaela Stauch has come up with a fall detection that has a nice design and looks more like jewelry or fit bit, which helps increase the usage of automatic fall detection.
Both are examples of simple solutions but clever ideas how to improve the lives of elderly and their caregivers.
Niclas Forsling, working for the Nordic Welfare Center is exploring solutions how to keep the Nordic welfare model up to speed by adding digital solutions built into infrastructure in the less populated parts of the Nordic countries. Start – HEALTHCARE AND CARE AT DISTANCE (healthcareatdistance.com).
Ageing is something that affects us all – “the only true democracy”, as one speaker put it. The final plenary session, hosted by AAL’s Nicola Filizola, focused on the legacy, bringing perspectives from across the board and hinting at how the themes carried for so long by different programmes will be carried forwards in the coming years. One theme that has developed and risen in prominence through the years is the so-called ecosystem approach, which is now taking a central position in discussions about how to bring our health and cares systems forward into the future so that they can help people live happy, active, and independent lives as they grow older. This concept has reached maturity at just the right time as the AAL Programme starts to wind down. The ecosystem approach recognises that silos must be broken down and deeper collaborations are encouraged.