Eurasanté, our partner from Northern France, organised on May 12, 2020, its 4th stakeholders’ meeting – this time online. Actors of the Silver Economy sector had the opportunity to learn about some of the good practices presented by SILVER SMEs partners during the project and to discuss their replicability at regional level. Discussions with local actors of the sector will help Eurasanté in shaping a coherent and efficient Action Plan.
Housing: The Swedish retirement house Gullogården gave partners another vision of health services, in this natural and quiet environment. Yet, the model does not seem easily replicable in France due to the much higher ratio care staff / residents needed.
Care: at-home care services are more and more needed, in particular for vulnerable and dependent older adults. In this regard, the Buurtzorg good practice was welcomed by stakeholders. It proposes an innovative model where caregivers are more autonomous and can dedicate more time to patients.
Social life: to fight loneliness and unlock the social potential of older adults, the University of the Third Age was created in Zielona Gora – a University which partners had the opportunity to visit during SILVER SMEs seminar on vulnerable and dependent older adults in Poland in October 2019. It offers older people with a place to meet and carry out creative, sportive, and cultural activities.
Support to SMEs: If the ageing policy in France is mainly designed at County level, most participants recognised the added value of the good practice Silver Normandy – an integrated regional model aiming at supporting compagnies of the Silver Economy sector. The existence of living labs was in particular welcomed by stakeholders. Likewise, the good practice from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Creuse, which appoint an full-time employee to support the Silver Economy sector, was positively assessed by a number of SME owners, stating they missed this type of individual support when they created their business.
Conclusion & next steps
A first observation among participants is the difficulty to properly define the target audience and objectives of Silver Economy sector due to the variety of profile among older adults. Age, health, and autonomy differences in this segment of the population bring confusion between active, vulnerable, and dependent older adults. For businesses, the confusion can lead to pejorative marketing and communication difficulties with their target audience.
Therefore, stakeholders recommend on the one hand to better train staff in the public and private sectors so that they better identify the different profiles, understand the needs of older adults, and develop the Silver Economy sector. On the other hand, it was also recommended to better test innovations with end-users. Living labs and hubs can be ideal places for SMEs to test their products directly with older people before commercialising them.
Finally, stakeholders reminded the need to structure the sector at County level in France for a better coordination with local SME and healthcare policies.