Prof. Leocadio Rodríguez Mañas, ADVANTAGE Joint Action Coordinator, Head of Geriatrics, University Hospital of Getafe shares his views on the new EU-supported Joint Action and how it will address issues of healthy ageing and frailty.
How will European citizens benefit from the results of the joint actions?
Among the health issues that European citizens are concerned about are disabilities that are associated with ageing. This concern has motivated the European Commission and other European institutions, such as the Council of Europe, and many of the Member States to address it. The success of this JA will contribute to a more homogeneous approach to frailty, improving screening, diagnosis, prevention and treatment, as well as to the reform of health systems and the identification of priorities in training and research programmes, reorienting the focus on the prevention of disabilities.
What is its main goal?
The main objective of this JA is to establish a common European framework for addressing the problem of frailty, which is the main condition associated with the risk of developing disabilities. This objective includes the design of strategies adapted to the preconditions, interests and priorities of each Member State, within the common framework mentioned previously. This approach will enable the development of policies adapted to local conditions, but within a common homogenous framework.
Who is involved? Can interested stakeholders still participate?
22 Member States are represented in this JA through more than 40 organisations. In addition, more than 100 'stakeholders', including elderly individuals themselves, are participating in this JA in different ways. Similarly, we have made it possible for people to take part in the Joint Action in a variety of ways right from the very first meeting (Madrid 19-20 January), and opportunities to participate will remain open throughout the lifetime of the JA. Also throughout the JA, different communication channels will be used (website, press releases, meetings with stakeholders and parliamentarians) to make sure that all relevant information is widely disseminated.
How will this joint action contribute to the European Commission's key priorities?
The European Commission is deeply concerned about health issues related to ageing, as evidenced by the multitude of documents that the Commission has generated on the subject. Among the issues associated with ageing, disability stands out in particular because it is a major determinant of loss of quality of life. Dealing with its main risk factor (fragility) and designing a joint plan for addressing it from a European perspective will contribute substantially to addressing this priority.