T.A.A.F.E. Towards an alpine Age-Friendly Environment
Dear reader, welcome to the third TAAFE newsletter: in this issue we want to exchange some information about the TAAFE Transnational Event and Policy Brief on the TAAFE AS Strategy
TAAFE International Conference by the Pilot Site Tübingen & Mössingen

Organised by the pilot region Tübingen-Mössingen and in cooperation with the lead partner City of Treviso, the 3rd International Conference of the TAAFE project was successfully held as an online event on 16-18 June 2021.

Unfortunately, the high expectations that all partners of the project and especially the organisers from the pilot side Tübingen-Mössingen - University of Tübingen, district of Tübingen and city of Mössingen - had to offer a meeting and exchange beyond the screens again could not be fulfilled. All three partner organisations, the Mössingen Local Action Groups and the TRIO members would have appreciated to welcome and warmly greet all project participants in the city of Mössingen and the region of Tübingen. Dialogues and exchange were planned in working groups as well as in public events and discussions.

Against all odds, all participants made the best of the Covid19 pandemic-related circumstances. In the preliminary stages of the conference, beautiful, exciting video clips were produced from each pilot region in which the pilots and actors introduced themselves and presented their goals and concerns. You can have a look at these videos at the following link:

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In the same way, the District Administrator Joachim Walter (District of Tübingen) and the Lord Mayor Michael Bulander (City of Mössingen) also used this type of format to welcome all partner organisations and people. They would also have appreciated to welcome all participants and interested people in Mössingen and the region.

 

In the 3-day programme, the individual workshops in which an intensive exchange and further development of the project took place, were prepared, organised, and carried out by the work package leaders. Exciting, interesting, and fruitful inputs, discussions and presentations contributed to the further successful implementation of the project. The diversity of the individual pilots, in their thematic, organisational, and regional locations and with their respective particularities and challenges, and the great cooperation between all participants make the TAAFE project something extraordinary and an asset for Europe.

 

After the presentations of the pilot sites the first day event went through presenting the work done at work package: how the development of a participative model in the transnational areas evolved and changed from the original plan and key challenges that the Consortium had to face during the time of pandemic emergency - and most of all the solutions found. 

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The results of the base-line survey conducted in each pilot site to analyse the level of citizens involvement and participation in the development of age-friendly initiatives were then presented, followed by the careful description of evidence collected through the investigation on national and regional policies dedicated to the older adult population, with a focus on the adoption of an age-friendly approach in their design and implementation.

 

An important part of the discussion between the Consortium and the observers was dedicated to the implementation and definition of the “Taafe strategy”, gaining concrete recommendations to develop age-friendly environments built on the analysis of the opportunities and challenges identified during half-year work. More detailed results gained so far in regards to this topic can be found in the following section of this newsletter.

 

The second day was entirely dedicated to discuss the extension and sustainability of the TAAFE method in the Alpine space, focusing on the most topical issues and common challenges related to the ageing population. The exchange among partners was organised in the form of interactive workshop sections in which participants, divided into groups, were asked to reflect on a number of key issues: health, social participation, urban environment, etc. This method proved to be very useful, as it made it possible to start from very concrete observations arising from pilots’ local experience and to arrive at shared common factors and characteristics that can be extended to the entire Alpine Space.

 

The third day, Friday 18th, was reserved for the work with the TRIOs. and it was an important occasion to share good practices, doubts and difficulties related to the actions carried out so far to identify and give solutions to the local priority. Each TRIO was asked to reason about the strengths and weaknesses of their pilot site, identifying the main ones. These elements were then presented to the other TRIOs, looking for similarities, but also for differences in order to share good practices and to offer suggestions to fix eventual criticalities. The exchange was also fundamental in order to reflect more deeply on the challenging but stimulating theme of the implementation and adaptation of the TAAFE methodology in local context.

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TAAFE POLICY MEASURES SUPPORTING THE CO-CREATION OF AGE-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENTS IN THE ALPINE SPACE

Key Messages & Methodology 

The TAAFE project provides evidence of the importance of implementing participatory governance for the development of age-friendly communities. As the WHO underlines, age-friendly cities and communities allow all people to maximize their abilities across the life-course. The involvement of older people enables them to contribute to the development of a more inclusive society and at the same time it might positively change visions of age. 

 

Building age-friendly environments is promoted at European and international level as an answer to the challenges of aging societies. It is an approach to keep people involved throughout their lifetime and to value the diverse skills they bring into society. Policy interventions at all level that reflect a life course approach may be supportive to reach this aim, mainstreaming age related issues by strategically considering and integrating ageing issues into all relevant policy fields on all levels with the aim of creating synergies across policy fields and communities recognising the diversity of older peoples and their needs and wishes.

As all countries in the Alpine Space are confronted with similar challenges in connection to ageing, age-friendly environments are a topic we need to exchange on in a wider scope, exploring how public authorities of different levels can contribute to the agenda.

 

Methodology

The here presented recommendations are a product of collective knowledge production within the wider TAAFE stakeholder community. 

They are drawn from the report Age friendliness in the Alpine Space (2020), expert opinions reported therein and the feedback provided by the stakeholders involved in the ongoing TAAFE policy dialogue. The report suggests a multi-stakeholders process of “listening”, “learning”, “visioning” and through that the description of new pathways to more cohesive societies.

The WHO Age-friendly Cities framework deals with 8 interconnected domains to foster age-friendly environments involving community and health care, transportation, housing, social participation, outdoor spaces and buildings, respect and social inclusion,  civic participation and employment and communication and information. (https://extranet.who.int/agefriendlyworld/age-friendly-cities-framework/). 

 

In an international online workshop of the TAAFE community, the participating experts formulated concrete measures to overcome challenges connected to these domains. They aim at providing guidance in regards to the above-mentioned three areas of action. A special focus was drawn on to the issues of (a) healthy living, (b) diversity of older people and (c) built environment, transportation and accessibility.  Other domains, such as social participation, communication and information and civic participation, were tackled with as crosscutting issues.

 

Policy recommendations

 

Endorsement of guidelines and self-representation boards for participatory governance structures aiming at a greater involvement and stronger role of older people in the EU Member States


 

  • Enable active engagement of older people through measures, actions or activities that support their active participation in community/public/social life (including activities aimed at physical and mental engagement).
  • Enable intergenerational (all citizens) encounters or meetings that put social togetherness, management of commons and development of joint visions in the centre. By doing so, they help to provoke a change in mentally or positive mindset towards ageing within society. 

 

 

Coordinated European strategy and actions to create a positive mindset within its population towards ageing and raise awareness for requirements and benefits of age-friendly environments


 

  • Provide resources for anchoring and administering training opportunities and offers for the sensibilisation on age-related matters, more specifically (a) intergenerational training for employees of service providers, (b) pre-retirement training for older workers and (c) area-wide and systemic training and support measures for informal carers.
  • Launch a European media campaign which aims at promoting intergenerational dialogue by educating the general public, combating negative stereotypes regarding age and emphasising positive role models of older citizens and their contributions to society, as well as addressing older people’s health needs, including sexual health needs. 
  • Elimination of all technological barriers that deny older people to have access to relevant information through (a) equipping older adults with necessary digital skills to navigate in online service portals (b) training of public administration personnel to equip them with knowledge of how to better match the "design of information" with user needs.

 

Mainstreaming age related issues by strategically considering and integrating ageing issues into all relevant policy fields on all levels with the aim of creating synergies across policy fields and communities

  • Following the UNECE Road Maps for Mainstreaming Ageing TAAFE recommends considering and integrating ageing issues into all relevant policy fields on all levels.
  • Networking actions supporting topic related knowledge exchange across municipalities, including national representation boards of smaller communities

 

Addressing the challenge of establishing a “Union of Equality” and following the call of Ageplatform Europe for implementing an Age Equality Strategy by creating a system for monitoring the implementation of existing laws on accessibility and guarantee equal access to social services for older people in all European countries

 

Introduce a focus on age-friendly environments in the Urban Agenda for the EU as well as on the EU Rural Development policy by supporting the development of strong intergenerational neighbourhood structures.

  • This refers to new age-friendly concepts of town planning including public housing and accessible services and transport and would allow to sustain rural infrastructure and to prevent urbanisation. It also refers to the need of municipalities to invest in bigger, structurally relevant investments at the local level, without financial restrictions. 

On the local level this includes: 

  • Novel solutions for adopting houses for the needs of older people and shared housing to allow older people to age in place – including concepts for financing necessary changes.
  • the adaptation of concepts and regulations fostering affordable rents in the city centres to provide for important infrastructure in the close neighbourhood
  • in line with the aims of a just, green transition it is underlined that older people profit especially from the development of barrier free public transport , which is often not easily accessible in rural areas.

 

STAY TUNED!

 

Stay tuned to keep updated on the progress of the activities!

 

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European Regional Development Fund