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  • Communication from the Commission [...] Ageing well in the Information Society, An i2010 Initiative, Action Plan on Information and Communication Technologies and Ageing, COM(2007) 332 final


Europe's population is ageing: average life expectancy has increased from 55 in 1920 to over 80 today. With the retiring baby boom generation the number of people aged from 65 to 80 will rise by nearly 40% between 2010 and 2030. This demographic change poses significant challenges to Europe's society and economy1. Information and communication technologies (ICT) can play an important role in dealing with these challenges.

ICT can help the older individuals to improve quality of life, stay healthier and live independently for longer. Innovative solutions are emerging to help counteract problems related to memory, vision, hearing, and mobility, which are more prevalent with age2. ICT also enables older persons to remain active at work or in their community. Their accumulated experience and skills is a great asset, especially in the knowledge society.

The demand for health and social services will grow with the increase of the number of very old and frail people (the group of over 80 year olds will almost double by 2050), while the financial sustainability of such services is already of great concern3. ICT enables more efficient management and delivery of health and social care, as well as increasing opportunities for community- and self-care and service innovation. Significant benefits can be reaped for the economy and society at large.

Although the older population has a large buying power and ageing is becoming a global phenomenon, the market of ICT for ageing well in the information society is still on its nascent phase and does not yet fully ensure the availability and take-up of the necessary ICTenabled solutions. The reasons include low awareness of the opportunities and user needs and insufficient sharing of experiences, fragmentation of reimbursement and certification schemes, lack of interoperability, and high costs of development and validation.

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