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2 Jul, 2013

EU Cities/Regions Get Star Ratings for Active & Healthy Ageing Projects


Brussels, Europa Press Releases, 2 July 2013 – 32 cities and regions across Europe have been rewarded for new ways of helping older people. These award-winners have been implementing innovative technological, social or organisational solutions to enhance the efficiency of health and social care systems, and have been presented with awards from European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda.

Star winners came from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK. 13 Reference Sites have received three stars, 12 two stars and 7 one star (click here for full details).

Neelie Kroes said: “Everyone wants to be independent as they age, and everyone in Europe should have an equal chance at that. By rewarding the most successful ideas we can spread them and give ever older person that opportunity.”

European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, said “I am delighted that the people who made these 32 sites a success have come to Brussels to share their ideas and insights. It is important that such cases of how innovation is already being used to help our older citizens live healthy and active lives serves as an inspiration to us all. Large scale deployment of such solutions is the next step.”

There are six categories of innovation in the Commission’s Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing: medication adherence, fall prevention, frailty and malnutrition, integrated care, independent living and age-friendly environments. Some examples of the good practices are:

  • Andalusia, Spain has electronically integrated the health information of all its 8,5 million inhabitants, optimised the coordination of their health and social carers and improved social welfare for their nearly 1.3 million citizens aged 65+.
  • Scotland has rolled out a risk prediction tool for anticipatory care to help achieve its goal of everyone living longer, healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting by 2020. The result has been fewer hospital admissions, shorter hospital stays, and a net saving of £190 per patient.
  • The Basque region in Spain is using 14 ICT projects to implement its strategy for chronic conditions. So far this has seen a 38% reduction in hospitalisation for highly complex cases and a 26% fall in emergency room visits.
  • The University of Coimbra, Portugal, supports a holistic ecosystem of stakeholders to implement innovative practices. The area of cognitive ageing, dementia and vision impairment has shown positive results with 1350 patients per year being evaluated by specialists, and the creation of over 100 jobs.


In December 2011 the European Commission launched its first Innovation Partnership, on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA) with the headline target of increasing the number of healthy life years in Europe by two by 2020. The Partnership’s Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), sets out three lines of work: Action Groups, Reference Sites and a digital Market Place for Innovative Ideas.

Reference Sites are coalitions of regions, cities, integrated hospitals or care organisations that aim to provide concrete examples of innovative services with proven added value to citizens and care systems in EU regions. Some of them have contributed to growth and job creation in their areas, many have extended elements of their best practice from local to regional or national level.

A Digital Market Place for Innovative Ideas has been launched to engage wider stakeholders in the EIP-AHA innovation process, to help disseminate and share results, ideas and initiatives and to facilitate cooperation within and between the Action Groups. International connections have been created with the OECD Silver Economy initiative and with WHO (cooperation in several ageing-related areas and specifically in the Action Group on Age Friendly Environments and Cities).