Glossary & Acronyms

In AGE's work the concept of accessibility is very broad and encompasses the accessibility of the built environment, transport, new technology (ICT), housing, healthcare, goods and services (including financial and insurance products),... It is closely linked to the concept of Design-for-All.

Active Ageing is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. It allows people to realise their potential for wellbeing throughout their lives and to participate in society according to their need, desires and capabilities, while providing them with adequate protection, security and care when they need assistance.

The Active Ageing Index (AAI) allows to measure and monitor national progress in ensuring activity and quality of life of the ageing populations in the European Union and in other UNECE countries. The index measures the extent to which older people can realise their full potential in terms of total and healthy life expectancy, participation in the economy, in social and cultural life and in terms of independent living.

This index is an initiative undertaken by the UNECE, the European Commission (DG Employment), Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the European Centre within the framework of the 2012 European Year on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

Active and Assisted Living Programme (AAL) refers to the use of new technologies (ICT) to create supportive and inclusive environment which enables older people and persons with disabilities to live independently and stay active longer in society. The European Commission is supporting AAL activities through the Active and Assisted Living programme (AAL JP). The reinforcement of the AAL JP is a major element of the wider policy action on ICT for Ageing Well, including the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.

Age discrimination is defined as a situation where ‘a person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation’ on the grounds of age (direct discrimination) or where ‘an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons having […] a particular age […] at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons’ according to the so-called ‘employment equality directive’ (2000/78/EC). Both direct and indirect discrimination and harassment on the basis of age are outlawed by this directive in the field of employment, unless these practices are ‘objectively justified by a legitimate aim’ and are appropriate, proportionate and necessary. Discrimination can happen also ‘by association’, if a person is discriminated not because of her own criteria, but because of her association bearing a criteria for discrimination: for example, if a young person is not promoted because she is living with an older person in need for care. Age discrimination exists both against younger and against older persons. The EU legislation only provides for protection against age discrimination in matters of employment. The so-called ‘horizontal directive’ or ‘equal treatment’ directive aims to enlarge this protection to the provision of goods and services and has been proposed in 2008; however, the directive is still blocked by Member States in the Council of Ministers.

Creating age-friendly environments means adapting our everyday living environment to the needs of the ageing population in order to empower people to age in better physical and mental health, promote their social inclusion and active participation and help them maintain their autonomy and a good quality of life in their old age. They enable older workers to remain at work for longer, lower the pressure on traditional care and assistance and on public budgets, and boost the economy through demand for innovative solutions.

AHA = Active and Healthy Ageing

The Annual Growth Survey sets out EU’s socio-economic priorities for the coming year, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and the Stability and Growth Pact (see Europe 2020 in this glossary). The Annual Growth Survey is proposed by the European Commission in November and adopted by the Council of economic and finance ministers in January. It marks the beginning of the European Semester. 

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The contents of the articles are the sole responsibility of AGE Platform Europe and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.