The bi-annual conference of the European Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (EAHSA) held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, between 25th – 26th September 2014, took as its overall theme ‘Innovation in Ageing Services: Pathways to the Future’. The conference was hosted by ActiZ, the Dutch association for residential and home care organisations and infant and child health clinics.
The conference provided an invaluable opportunity for dialogue and exchange as almost 200 delegates from 19 European Countries and also from Australia, gathered to share and discuss innovative ideas and showcase examples of good practice in ageing services. The conference can be seen as a major vehicle through which EAHSA, the European integral platform of the providers of housing, services and care for the ageing sector, pursues its guiding principles which provides the basis for the way the senior living industry has to develop in order to keep the industry viable, sustainable and responsive to future demands and needed developments.
Invited Speakers shared their knowledge and experience through keynote speeches, parallel sessions, public policy panel and through innovation workshops which were co-ordinated by Lifetech Impulse, Brussels. Facility tours were also organized which provided the participants the opportunity to visit innovative residential care and facilities like Vivium – the dementia village and Topaz Revitel Lieden, a 4-star rehabilitation and care hotel. The conference featured also an exhibition from service providers, a pre-conference technical forum and an exciting social programme. Speakers on the conference, included EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Hon. Dr. Tonio Borg, Hon. Dr. Michael Farrugia, Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity (Malta), Hon. Dr. Justyne Caruana, Parliamentary Secretary for Rights of persons with Disability and Active Ageing (Malta), Hon. Dr. Samantha Sacramento, Minister for Equality, Social Services and the Elderly (Gibraltar) and Helga Rohra, Chairperson of the European working group of people with dementia amongst others.
The programme had an exciting innovative opening whereby Leoni Jansen, a Dutch singer, stage director and TV personality interviewed EAHSA’s President and CareMalta Ltd. CEO Ms. Natalie Briffa Farrugia and the Conference host, EAHSA board member and CEO of ActiZ Mr. Aad Koster on the challenges of ageing in 2014 and beyond. Leoni also interpreted the song ‘True Colours’ which provided the backdrop of the conference.
During the conference, EAHSA Awards 2014 for the ‘Best Facility’ and for the ‘Best Organisation’ in Europe were also announced. The award for the ‘Best Facility’ went to SeniorenZentrum Krefeld, Germany, while the award for the ‘Best Organisation’ went to the Fédération Nationale Avenir et Qualité de Vie des Personnes Agées (FNAQPA), France.
During her closing speech, Ms. Natalie Briffa Farrugia, EAHSA President and CareMalta Ltd. CEO encouraged participants to continue collaborating, networking and building up partnerships in order to ‘think-outside-the-box’ and hence develop and create new innovations in the field of ageing.
The next EAHSA’s conference will be hosted by FNAQPA and will take place in Lyon France between 22nd – 23rd September, 2016. More information can be found on http://www.eahsa.eu