A comparative analysis between The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland, Portugal
Demographic change, a reduction of (informal) carers and the need of sufficient housing for independent living need to raise awareness on the role of age-friendly environments in the home and community settings. The concept of age-friendly principles is relatively new in the AFECO project countries’ political agenda. All partners reported low maturity of regional and local resources and policies and of coordination and homogeneity of any initiatives at the national level, a problem which gets even more highlighted in countries with federal structures like Germany and Italy.
In the partner countries funding to promote age-friendly environments is scarce or non-existent.
While top-down plans are still in the phase of development or lag implementation, bottom-up initiatives exist and need to be adapted in order to speed things up and make them happen. Such initiatives are mainly based on both a) municipalities, and b) various kinds of social welfare organisations and institutions.
Eco-friendly solutions must count on the personal responsibility and awareness of older adults and their caregivers. Especially since the vast majority of older adults want to continue living in their own home environment, it is important to raise the awareness and motivation of these people to adopt an eco-friendly way of living that complies with their care needs and boosts their environmental sensitivity.
Older people reported climate change is a huge motivator for them to act, at least at the level of their own homes and private consumption decisions.
At this point, a crucial barrier deriving from the literature search from project countries is the insufficient knowledge among older adults about which measures they can take themselves to make their neighbourhood or homes greener and/or eco-friendly and the necessity and effectiveness of these measures in their community. AFECO’s outputs, including the curriculum and e-learning platform, are designed to tackle this challenge head-on.