Standards are for the future, not for the past. This means, as we enter 2018, there is an imperative for us to think, very carefully, about the way we shape those standards – for our benefit and for the benefit of the generations to come.
This is not an easy task. But in the PROGRESSIVE Project we are meeting this challenge with our focus on ‘Information and Communications Technologies’ (ICT) and ‘Active and Healthy Ageing’ (AHA).
ICT and AHA may seem like strange bedfellows. But they are not. People aged 65 and over make up nearly one in five of the population of the EU. Older people, as much as younger people, are therefore major consumers of ICT products and services. This is why commercial organisations are more and more alert to the importance of older people as potential consumers. They recognise a growing ‘Silver Economy’ and are increasingly eager to serve that market. Standards must guide them in the way they do this.
The notion of ‘Active and Healthy Ageing’ (AHA), one of the touchstones of the PROGRESSIVE Project, is not just a matter of healthy lifestyles. It recognises that older people can be workers, innovators, entrepreneurs, carers, politicians, community activists and more. We must all, as a consequence, do our best to jettison the negative stereotypes that may imply or be associated with the idea of older people as of less worth or as always dependent on the support of others.
It follows that our future standards must increasingly encourage designs and approaches for products and services that recognise AHA within that new and growing ‘Silver Economy’.
This new approach will require greater involvement of older people or their representative organisations in the standardisation process. By such means the PROGRESSIVE Project intends future products and services to be more accessible, usable and interoperable for the benefit of all.