Europa walks to Active and Healthy Ageing

Helena Fernández | ResearcherThe European Innovation Partnership (EIP), one of the proposals included in the Innovation Union, is one of the European Commission’s Flagship Initiatives launched under Europe 2020 as part of the EU’s new growth and jobs strategy. The EIP will act as a framework bringing together major EU activities and policies and covering the whole spectrum from research to market.

The first EIP is on Active Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA). Active Healthy Ageing is a major societal challenge, common to all European countries, and an area with considerable potential for Europe to lead the world in providing innovative responses. The EIP on AHA was launched with the aim of increasing the average healthy lifespan by two years by 2020. Specifically, it will pursue the empowerment of EU citizens; the sustainability and efficiency of social and health care systems; and the creation of new business opportunities.  This initiative includes six specific actions groups that address subjects as relevant as fall prevention, prescription and treatment adherence; and functional decline and frailty.

Gradiant participates in the A2 Action Group on Fall Prevention. Falls are the dominant cause of injuries among older people and account for approximately one-third of fatal injuries amongst older people (60+), and this percentage increases sharply after the age of 70. Each year, one in every three senior adults falls, mostly at home. Falls are not only associated with morbidity and mortality in the older population, but are also linked to poorer overall functioning and early admission to long-term care facilities. Conversely, falls are the most preventable issue that leads to the need of home nurse care.

The A2 Action Group on Fall Prevention group aims at supporting and facilitating the involvement of all stakeholders in the process of developing, producing and delivering policies and tools for fall-prevention programmes, as to scale-up and improve service delivery. Additionally, it aims at promoting innovation, and stimulating and facilitating the development of fall prevention programmes.

Recognizing the relevant paper that information and communication technologies (ICT) play on fall prevention, Gradiant leads one of the deliverables, the online marketplace and innovation platform for falls prevention services and products. This platform will provide matchmaking between technology providers and potential partners with a view to trial, deploy, and roll out novel technologies.

Additionally, Gradiant actively participates in the definition of a toolkit for implementing tools and technologies for monitoring, screening and assessment, decision making support, standardized protocols and flows. Finally, it develops fall prevention technologies and contributes to defining a roadmap for the future wave of next generation fall prevention technologies.