Consultation workshop on age-friendly environments in Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia

WHO

As part of implementing their biennial collaborative agreements 2014–2015, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia organized a multicountry workshop to exchange information and experience in implementing policies aimed at improving the health and well-being of their aged populations and to learn about the new European age-friendly environment framework. The workshop took place on 9–10 July 2015 in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The meeting brought together about 30 experts and representatives of ministries of health, local authorities, nongovernmental organizations, research institutions and academia with the aim to build capacity for the implementation of supportive age-friendly environments and to consult on the first draft of the age-friendly environments in Europe (AFEE) guide. Participants presented national healthy ageing strategies and action plans, as well as their current experiences with implementing age-friendly policies on local levels.

The main objectives of the meeting were to:

  • exchange expertise and examples from participating countries on how to implement supportive environments and mapping of available and necessary support on local, subnational, national and subregional levels (i.e. capacity building); and
  • gather advice and comments on the draft AFEE guide and of the core deliverables for the AFEE project.

Dr Manfred Huber, Coordinator, Healthy Ageing, Disability and Long-term Care at WHO/Europe, and Dr Josephine Jackisch, WHO consultant updated participants on WHO´s work in the area of healthy and active ageing, presented the WHO global report to be launched later this year, provided information about the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities, and encouraged participating countries to join these networks.

Time was also dedicated to group work, where countries discussed processes, success factors and barriers for creating age-friendly environments in communities. Participants agreed that cities recognize the need to provide more and better care for the growing proportion of elderly, and that much has been done thanks to first, the WHO/Europe "Strategy and action plan for healthy ageing 2012–2020", used as resource material during the workshop, and second, Health 2020, which emphasizes the necessity of investing in health through the life-course. Still a lack of proven evidence about the needs of seniors exists. They should be participating in decision-making processes so that resilient communities and supportive environments will enable their senior period of life to be healthy and active.