Like elsewhere in Europe, the Euregio has an ageing population. This raises the prevalence of dementia (about 2%) and old-age depression (about 25%). How can those elderly enjoy participating in daily life as long as possible? Our project euPrevent's project 'Senior Friendly Communities' established a local approach in 31 municipalities. The project closed end 2019 with the publication of a book, ‘The Art of Growing Older’.
At the closure on 21 November, euPrevent Senior Friendly Communities presented the main project results were presented. This included ‘The Art of Growing Older’, a book that gives an artistic view on old-age depression. It addresses the taboo that growing old happily is not evident for everyone, as Dr. Frans Verhey of Maastricht University explains:
‘Eventually, everyone will have to deal with the downside of old age themselves: you gradually encounter more difficulties in your daily life and become more aware of your limitations, you survive your partner and friends, you start to feel lonely. You experience a lack of energy, as well as a loss of perspective and autonomy.’
In the face of these difficulties, growing old in good shape is indeed a true art, as Verhey writes in the book’s foreword. indeed becomes an art. ‘It is not about your condition, but what you do despite it’.
The conference on 21 November in Stolberg (DE) closed three years of activities. Nine partners and 31 different municipalities organised over hundred cross-border activities in the regions of the Euregio. Additionally, euPrevent launched the Euregional Health Atlas, was introduced which includes data on health and well-being of Euregio Meuse-Rhine population. It is targeted to policy makers to allow them to compare data and evaluate on (eu)regional level.