Europe has the oldest and most rapidly ageing population of any continent in the world. It is expected that between 2016 and 2060, the proportion of older people in Europe will rise from 19,3% to 29% of the total population. Therefore, it is necessary to develop and support a range of methods focused on active and healthy ageing as well as reducing poverty of older people.
COFACE Families Europe works to support families, including families in vulnerable situations and has therefore attended the 16th edition of the FEAD (Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived) Network Meeting which took place in Vilinus, Lithuania. This time the focus was on tackling poverty and social exclusion of older people through FEAD initiatives.
The Fund helps the most deprived people by addressing their most basic needs through material and non-material assistance across Europe. It is used as a tool by Member States to support the most vulnerable in our society. The meeting gathered people involved in different initiatives from Europe to share best practices amongst themselves on how to help and support older people.
The 2-day conference started with a welcome of Marie-Anne Paraskevas from the European Commission who gave an overview of where Commission, Council and Parliament are standing right now and what new proposals are on the way. She also mentioned that 3% of the MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) was allocated to the most deprived. Her speech was followed by the first panel discussion with Eurofound, AGE Platform Europe, EAPN, and the Lithuanian Social Research Centre. It was stressed that life satisfaction is going down with age and that especially women are more at risk of poverty in older age, highlighting the existing gender pension gap. “An intergenerational approach is needed from earlier on”, said Grazina Rapoliene from the Research Center in relation to the problems stated.
In workshops the participants shared their projects which mainly consists of food banks, assistance at home or education trips and services, such as a library project from the Netherlands which help elderly people to come out to socialise in libraries and at the same time teach them the skills for digital and technical tools.
The next FEAD Networking meeting will take place in Brussels on 7-8 November with the focus on monitoring and evaluating FEAD initiatives.
More information can be found here.