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Which services could ensure the autonomy, independence and rights of older people and enable their participation in society?

February 2, 2021

 Which services could ensure the autonomy, independence and rights of older people and enable their participation in society?

It is one of the questions asked by the European Commission’s Green Paper on Ageing published on 27 January 2021. It aims to discuss how to identify key issues and trends related to ageing and support suitable policy-responses and launches a 12-week public consultation, ending on 21 April 2021.

The ageing of Europe’s population has implications for economic growth, health, wellbeing and long-term care. Ageing also offers opportunities for creating new jobs and promoting social fairness. That is why the Commission considers demography a priority topic and has presented this green paper after its report on the impact of demographic change in Europe from June 2020.

The Social Employers has already highlighted the growing demand for social care services in the context of demographic change and related opportunities and challenges, including in a dedicated Joint Position Paper with EPSU.

The Green Paper calls on considering different aspects when addressing ageing, such as:

Education and training in a lifelong learning perspective

  • Investing in people’s knowledge, skills and competences throughout their lives, including high-quality early childhood education and care, and later on adult education and training opportunities.

Bringing more people into the workforce

  • Supporting the labour market inclusion of migrants, women and persons with disabilities.
  • Increasing employment rates of older workers: Only 59.1% of those aged 55-64 were employed in 2019 versus 73.1% of all those aged 20-64 (Eurostat online table lfsi_emp_a).
  • Promoting good working conditions, including sound occupational safety and health, to protect the health of workers of all ages and reduce early retirement rates.

Meeting the health and long-term care needs of an ageing population

  • There is a potential of 8 million new jobs in the health and social care sector in the next 10 years. Member States face common challenges in long-term care, which include ensuring access, affordability and quality care, as well as adequate workforce.
  • Tackling this will require more up- and re-skilling of workers.
  • Cross-border mobility of staff could also play a role to meet the demand in care services.
  • Using social enterprises and non-profit organisations to deliver social care services, including for older people, is effective because of their local knowledge and specific social objectives.

The Social Employers will contribute to this consultation as the voice of social services employers at European level and encourages members to also submit their views electronically.

Submit your consultation HERE.

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