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Lessons learned from Interreg projects ACSELL, ITHACA and TAAFE on active ageing

On 8 September, the CEI-Executive Secretariat co-organised the event “Smart Living Environments for Active Ageing” in the context of the EU-funded project ACSELL - ACCelerating SmE innovation capacities with a Living Lab approach.

The conference - held at the headquarters of Friuli Innovazione in Udine - aimed at presenting and showcasing strategies and actions for the promotion of smart solutions for active and healthy ageing at regional, national and EU level.

National and international experts from research center, universities, regional governments and international organisations, gathered to discuss models of intervention in support of active and healthy ageing. Focus was put on how new technologies and innovative solutions can foster the overall wellbeing of older people.

Senior Programme Manager Gian Matteo Apuzzo, presented the lessons learnt from ACSELL. He outlined the importance of directly involving senior citizens in the decision-making process; and of having a multidimensional approach encompassing all the different needs they may have. The necessity of an open innovation involving multiple sectors and going beyond the sole technological innovation, favouring new solutions in terms of services, training, change management was also discussed.

Apuzzo also illustrated actions and practices on active ageing from two other EU-funded projects closely related to the topic, i.e., ITHACA (Innovation in Health and Care for All) and TAAFE (Towards and Alpine Age-Friendly Environment).

As a wrap-up of lessons learned, challenges to social innovation for active ageing remain and need to be addressed, as for example the need to offer and support the establishment of more permanent services building from the pilot initiatives of the EU projects. Another important aspect is the necessity to effectively develop operational instruments for governance and coordinating innovative solutions and adapt organisation and funding instrument regulations accordingly. Finally, synergies with the private sector should be strengthened as well as the political commitment.

The event was organised by the Cluster of Life Sciences of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region— Techno Pole Alto Adriatico “Andrea Galvani”— in collaboration with the Central European Initiative, the Italian National Cluster Smart Living Technologies (SMILE), and Friuli Innovazione.

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