Introduction: Decision makers in care and support systems across Europe are increasingly facing up to new economic realities. Most obvious among the forces that are changing the economic context is the ageing of the population, and the associated realisation that today’s arrangements for supporting older people with health and social care needs will probably not be seen as affordable in 20 or 30 years time. Another force for change is that many more people with major disabilities are surviving into old age. At the same time, and a further cause for celebration, older and disabled people today have different expectations, in particular demanding access to the same opportunities as those available to any other citizen. This manifests itself in, for example, higher aspirations for participation in further and higher education, for employment, for relationships and family roles, and for control over decisions that affect their daily lives.
Description and discussion: Set in this exciting new context, the aim of this presentation will be to identify the new economic challenges that pervade the fields of ageing and disability, and describe some possible responses, in particular looking to learn from across the broad spectrum of ageing and disability. Among the areas to be considered are: the funding of long-term care and support, and the need to consider radical new arrangements; the promotion of choice and control; the development of inclusive employment strategies; the conceptualisation and assessment of success (‘outcome’) in research; and the creation of an evidence base to support decision-making. In each case, the focus will be on the contributions made by economic insights and analysis.