Horizon 2020 fosters social innovations (SIs) to extend healthy life expectancy. SIs can be ideas, products, services or models designed to enhance the well-being and quality of life of people as they age. The EU could be doing more to benefit from the potential of SIs in active and healthy ageing. The EU-funded INNOVAGE (Social innovations promoting active and healthy ageing) project set out to identify and develop SIs to prolong healthy life years (HLY) across the EU. To achieve its aims, INNOVAGE developed, tested, surveyed and catalogued four SIs that will enhance the quality of life and well-being of older people. Project partners developed an evaluation technique to assess the impact of SIs on well-being in old age. Four cost-effective SIs were developed, implemented and evaluated that focused on: housing and independent living; ICT and social support for elderly carers; tackling obesity; and improving the well-being of the elderly living in long-term care settings. To this end, guidelines for user involvement in SI were delivered that highlight the importance of engaging with older people in the SI process. An EU-wide web-based platform for knowledge exchange was set up targeting service providers, social entrepreneurs, industry, policymakers, non-governmental organisations and civil society. It contains a database of over 150 exemplar SI projects in this domain with a proven track record or clear potential, a methodology for assessing and grading SI, a system for evaluating SIs concerning their impact on HLY, guidance on involving the elderly in SI and links to further resources. The INNOVAGE team also developed a system that generates estimates of the impact of a SI on HLY at specific ages for a population. INNOVAGE introduced a pioneering model for European senior citizens, embracing shifts and trends in the labour market, social behaviour and life expectancy.
Social innovations, healthy ageing, elderly, INNOVAGE, healthy life years