STA, 5 November 2019 - Slovenia has joined the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, thus becoming one of the EU reference sites that promote ageing solutions through bringing together civil societies, governmental organisations, industry and science.
The partnership includes 77 reference sites or ecosystems that aim to improve the health and life of the elderly as well as the entire communities, coming up with and promoting innovative strategies.
"Slovenia's contribution to this partnership will be an improved collaboration of various activities," said Alenka Rožaj Brvar, the head of the Slovenian Innovation Hub, at a press conference on Tuesday.
She pointed at increasing population ageing and related challenges, such as chronic diseases, adding that a more systematic plan for tackling these issues should be implemented.
Marjan Sedmak, the head of the Ljubljana Pensioners' Union and the former head of AGE Platform Europe, a European network of organisations focusing on the needs of the elderly, pointed out that another issue posed by ageing was loneliness, which is being partly tackled by senior activity centres, but there was still room for improvement.
Rožaj Brvar also highlighted the business opportunities of the silver or longevity economy targeting older consumers, including in real estate, health care and prevention, tourism, health food, home care equipment products and assistive devices.
One of Slovenia's possible strategies for tapping this potential is a project called the Academic Village which strives for setting up a community of retired professors and researchers near a new university campus at Brdo pri Kranju in northern Slovenia.
According to the former chancellor of the Ljubljana University and an advocate of the Slovenian Innovation Hub Stane Pejovnik, the community would promote maintaining ties between the young and the elderly as well as the knowledge exchange between them.
Pejovnik also listed the hub's other project ideas, including building two new faculties, a proton therapy centre for tumour treatment and the so-called medicine valley which would come with a price tag of a few hundred million euros, adding that securing funds for such projects is one of the main challenges of Slovenia's innovative initiatives in this field.
Meanwhile, the director of the Provita company Gorazd Hladnik presented an example of good practices in health management - the Health Master app, a Slovenian platform which promotes keeping a personal health record and introduces new ways of patient-doctor exchanges using information and communication technologies.