Improving health care, and rising awareness about maintaining a happy lifetime, healthy aging and high standards of life quality are increasing the long life expectancy of EU citizens which is a true source of pride for the EU. However, the age groups in the population is off balance, so demographic aging is one of the key challenges that EU must face now.
Naturally, this challenge brings some other concerns into light: The need for longer inclusion of the seniors to the social and economic life. The project, 'Explore-Activate' was designed by the partner institutions from 10 European countries. The overall objective of the project wss to contribute to raise awareness among the local older people about the concept of 'Active Ageing'.
The first part of this section presents the objectives which were included in the Explore Activate application. Each of the objectives will be addressed and explained how we ahieved it.
To share and exchange of experiences, points of view and opinions on the ways to make seniors more active citizens
We achieved this by presenting Best Practices during our meetings and bilateral meetings to the learners who took part in the mobilities. The persons taking part in the mobilities were able to discuss and exchange the information about their experiences during the free time.
To find out 'Good Practices of Active Ageing' in each partner country.
Each of the partners achieved this by researching Best Practices in their own country. These were then collocated by the coordinating partner and presented in the final result Handbook.
To carry out a case study of 'good practices':
Partners took the Best Practices which were presented by other partners and implemented them during the bilateral meetings. Other partners presented Best Practices during the mobilities at the local/national level. Some partners have met at the local level and discussed with staff about the future implementation of the Best Practices in each of the partner countries. It was important for the partners to consider the Best Practices which were most relevant to their institutional goals and activities. Thus some Best Practices may be more relevant than others.
To make a collection of good practices and case studies:
The partners have collaborated on the publication of a Handbook which presents not only the Best Practices but also information about the consortium, active ageing in Europe and the classification in which the Best Practices have been identified in.
To disseminate the results:
In order to disseminate the results the partners create a leaflet with the most relevant partner and project information. This also served as a collective identity for the consortium. The leaflet reflected the partner logo and was translated into the partner languages. The partners also created four project newsletters which contained information about the latest Explore Activate events. The partners established a project website which was regularly updated with project outcomes and meetings. Website visitors can also find information about the partner institutions and photos from events. In order to raise even more awareness, the partners created a Facebook page Explore Activate with information about the project.
To raise the public sensitivity and awareness of active ageing:
During the local partner meetings and the bilateral meetings the partner included the local authorities. During the meetings the partners visited/toured local organization and institutions. Information about project activities was disbursed to local authorities and stakeholders which were not able to take part in the mobilities. This enabled partners to raise the awareness on a larger scale.
To educate older people about the concept of Active Ageing and how they can benefit more to become more active:
The partners have created pieces of dissemination with project information, the Handbook with Best Practices, have incorporated activities in the mobility events and have planned or already organized workshops and Best Practices at the local and national levels.
To create public awareness on challenges and opportunities in the process of aging:
The partners have included local authorities and stakeholders in the meetings and shared information in order to raise the awareness and also provide concrete examples on how elderly persons can stay active throughout their lifetime.
We achieved the following activities through the path to the overall objective mentioned above: In the first year of the project, all the partners conducted a research on good examples for active ageing activities and the results were reported as a case study which describes the methods applied, materials used and the target groups' specifications in detail. These results were shared in the second transnational meeting.
In the second year of the project, every partner chose and applies one of these good practices in their own context in peer meetings. We conducted peer meetings which were an excellent opportunity for each of the partners as they had the chance to visit the peer partner to see the good practice example they chose to apply. Finally, the collection of the good practices was resented as a project booklet.
The consortium was formed with 6 different institutions from 6 different European countries opened a dimension of cooperation, sharing of information and exchange of practices between the partners. This partnership helped create awareness on Europe's problem of demographic ageing in both their institutions and in the local community. During both the transnational and bilateral mobility actions the partners enhance the opportunity to learn from each other.
The partner organizations considered this partnership as a first step to deal with the issue of Active Ageing in European level.
The organizations working together in this project found a common basis to build up a cooperation culture in a multicultural, multilingual and transnational environment from Europe. The partnership led to the collaboration on Active Ageing in European context and will hopefully lead to future collaborations in this sector. This was set to raise the awareness of Active ageing in the consortium, among staff members, learners, stakeholders and overall on the national and international level.
Dealing with the topic of Active ageing in this project can be seen as a first step of active citizenship in the European context and resulting from this as a first personal activity in their own process of “Active Ageing”. A positive experience will lead to sustainable engagement and future collaborations.