A big challenge for the Dutch society in the coming years will be how to extend the period that we live healthy and active. Recent years have shown a large increase in live expectancy, the life span, but not in years spend in good health, the health span. In the resulting ageing population more people need care and less people can provide this care. Together with new technological solutions, increasing income and growing consumer requirements this resulted in a strong increase in care costs over the last decennia (7% in 1970 to 21% in 2010). Recent scientific insights show that “compression of disease burden” can stop this trend. The UMCG decided already years ago to join forces and to choose Healthy Ageing as main focus for all its core tasks to help ensure that the additional years of life are spent in good health. The UMCG ambition is to contribute to the EU-goal "an increase of the average healthspan by two years" as formulated by the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.
We aim to find answers to such questions as: How can we prevent the consequences of chronic diseases? How can we increase the wellbeing and welfare of the elderly? How can we continue to participate in society and on the labour market, in a satisfactory manner, into old age?
The UMCG is collaborating with knowledge institutions, regional government authorities and the private sector in developing knowledge, valorisation and spin-off activities. In the Northern Netherlands, these activities are being undertaken within the Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands (HANNN).