Europe is getting older. The European Commission’s 2020 Demography report estimates that by 2070, 30% of the population will be aged 65 or above (compared to 20.3% in 2019). The same report also indicates that almost half of older people have a disability. Yet disability and ageing are treated differently when it comes to creating policies and practices. Whilst we are moving towards community-based services and deinstitutionalisation in the disability field, elderly people still face barriers in enjoying the right to live independently and the very high risk of institutionalisation such as nursing care homes. This approach puts individuals in either one category or the other, instead of considering the cross-sectionalities between ageing and disability.
The disability and ageing sectors need to be viewed together when designing policies and developing services. Necessary adaptions must be made to respond to the needs, wishes and preferences of individuals, regardless of age and disability. The opportunities and synergies provided by this can promote mutual learnings and cooperation with the same goal; for millions of people to enjoy their Social Rights, to live dignified and independent lives, and to provide the necessary support to enable them to participate actively in society.