Nordic Day 2019: Demographic changes opening the way for an age-friendly Nordic region
7 Feb 2019
Soon 25 percent of the population in the Nordic countries will be over 65 years of age. In Sweden this is already the case. The fact that more people are living longer is a good thing – but an ageing population is a significant issue that impacts our social systems. These groups are big consumers of health and social care. At the same time, many people remain healthy right up to a very old age and for these people it is a matter of creating good communities in which to grow old.
This is the theme the Nordic Welfare Centre will present at this year’s Nordic Day Wednesday 5th June. Nordic Day takes place in Milan in Italy, as a pre-conference to the annual conference of the European Social Network, ESN.
We in the Nordic region have been the first to address the issue of growing numbers of older people in the population. The Nordic welfare model is being challenged, and with no precedent to look to we have had to tackle how our communities should deal with this development.
Good communities in which to grow old
That more people are living longer is a good thing, but it also brings big challenges. We need to create communities that are good to grow old in, where we can have quality of life right up to very old age. The Nordic Welfare Centre is working on the issue of how to create age-friendly communities. A number of Nordic municipalities have chosen to join the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities – providing us with practical examples of how a municipality works, how cities can learn from and be inspired by each other in a network, and what the biggest challenges are in the work to bring about an age-friendly community.
Structures for dementia strategies
In accessible and age-friendly cities the community meets people’s increased need for welfare services, not least in areas such as dementia. The Nordic Welfare Centre is contributing to this development by focusing on these areas, and here welfare technology is also of crucial importance.
All the Nordic countries are in the process of developing or implementing national strategies, national guidelines or both. Denmark and Norway already have a second national strategy. The Nordic Dementia Network enables authorities and experts from the Nordic countries as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands to share their experience on an ongoing basis. We present lessons learned and concrete results of three years of structured Nordic cooperation on national dementia strategies.
Digitalisation is the new infrastructure
Throughout the Nordic region, an ageing population and depopulation – resulting in sparsely populated areas – have raised the question of how welfare services can be delivered to all. Like every other citizen, older people need health and social care. The question is how the countries of the Nordic region can make such services accessible to all – regardless of where in the country they live. Digitalisation is the new infrastructure, and the Nordic Welfare Centre is involved in and contributing to developments in this area.
We are active in a major Nordic project that is in the process of producing Nordic examples of digital solutions that work. We will present well-established services that have proved to be reliable and effective. Within municipal social services these may be digital services for what is known as remote monitoring: sensors, cameras, data collection and various kinds of long-distance meetings.
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