What interventions could reduce dependency
Upstream interventions aimed at preventing and reducing dependency are seen as a means of improving individuals’ quality of life and as an essential mechanism for dealing with the challenges of an ageing population, particularly in the current climate of fiscal uncertainty. Consequently, an important element of research and policy debates in the EU revolves around the potential of different interventions to postpone or even prevent care needs. Achieving such preventative effects would help individuals to live independently and remain active in their communities for longer, delaying or avoiding admissions to costly institutional care.
A number of policy initiatives have been put in place within and across EU countries to emphasise the “prevention agenda” in the long-term care area. For example, the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA) aims at extending healthy life years in the EU by two years by 2020 and endorses support for prevention, independent living and age friendly environments. National governments have also endorsed these goals, and often see a shift towards prevention and early intervention as a fundamental objective of social care transformation. However, there is still a need to identify the best available evidence about which interventions and policies lead to cost-effective preventative effects, and how and for whom they are most effective.