The Future of Aged Care in Europe
The newly rebranded European Ageing Network (EAN) held a successful conference in Prague in mid-September. With over 400 leaders in aged care from 30 countries and 3 continents, the delegates were focused on the question of the whether there is a future of long-term care in Europe.
The short answer is yes, there is a future, but it won’t look like the present. EAN, which is affiliated with the Global Ageing Network, is completing a report on the 2030 vision for long-term care. It is characterized by shifts – some revolutionary and others more evolutionary.
The report, to be issued this winter, was previewed by Markus Leser of Curaviva. He suggests that the biggest challenges and shifts for our field are:
- Overcoming impending staff shortages.
- Attaining financial sustainability for services and supports.
- Navigating or driving the shifts from care to prevention and inclusion; quality of care to quality of life; and professional delivery of services to co-creation with family.
- Shifting from medical focus to a social and service approach.
- System dominance to a client focus.
- From staff to staff AND technology.
Each of these is significant and has enormous implications for those designing and delivering care and services. Together, they represent a tectonic shift. These are not unique to Europe – these are our global challenges.
We are grateful to EAN for a concise and compelling characterization of our future directions. With these challenges come opportunities. It is a prime time for leaders to step up, for governments to rethink how they distribute resources, for providers to have the courage to test new approaches, and to learn to partner well. It is also a prime time for our networks – whether global or regional – to become stronger and more impactful.
We have so much to learn from one another as we seize the opportunities at a local, country, regional, and global level.