Tackling the challenges of an ageing population

Allia is part of the Seas2Grow project, a collaboration with partners in France, Holland and Belgium to find ways to help older people stay in their homes longer, safely and independently.

Elderly couple resting on a bench in the park

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the aim of the project is to foster and accelerate the development of innovation in the silver economy.  Building on the European Commission’s 2020 strategy, the initiative will engage stakeholders across the four regions to establish collaborative networks and tools to improve innovation performance of companies and to create a cross-border silver economy ‘cluster’ with a transferable and replicable economic model.   Allia’s role will be researching, designing and testing new financing and funding models which will help older individuals and families afford and benefit from innovations in the home that allow those homes to be safely lived in for longer.  Allia will investigate and test economic and commercially sound methods to accelerate innovative ideas for products and services amongst small and medium-sized businesses and develop economic models to encourage fitting these innovations into new homes, or retrofitting them into existing homes.

The Allia research stream covers two areas:

Identifying sustainable financial and business models for

  1. Living Labs (intermediaries for user- centric innovation) and a cross-border innovation accelerator programme
  2. Incorporating innovations for independent living into new build and retrofit properties


If you or your organisation is already involved in the silver economy or with the ageing population and are interested in sharing our journey by contributing knowledge or resources, or curious about what opportunities the silver economy might offer you, please get in touch by contacting Dr Lorraine Morley, Lead Researcher Silver Economy Innovations.  Email: Lorraine.morley@allia.org.uk.


Allia believe there are ways to look holistically at ageing and the opportunities it presents

The UK, along with much of Western Europe is going through a major societal challenge, in the form of a rapidly ageing population. At least a quarter of all babies born in the UK in 2012 will live to see their 100th birthday.  The proportion of the UK population aged over 65 will grow from 18% in 2014 to 25% in 2044.  Right now in the UK there are over eleven and a half million over 65s.  This is two hundred thousand more than 2015 and over half a million more than 2014.   There has been a rise of over five years in life expectancy since 1997. This increase in the population numbers creates a strain on the economy in terms of funding state pensions and social care and an increased demand is being felt by health care systems as demand for services rises. Because of this, there is an increasingly important need to find ways to help this growing part of the population remain independent, healthy and well for longer. As they get older, the vast majority of retired and older people would prefer to stay in their own homes or to return home after healthcare treatments, but are living in housing that is not adequate in helping to keep them independent and safe.

Economic opportunities arising from the public and consumer expenditure related to population ageing and the specific needs of the population over 50 is called the Silver Economy. The silver economy is driven both by the emergence of new consumer markets but also by the need to improve the sustainability of public expenditure.  The ageing population presents many challenges, but the silver economy offers opportunities across a wide variety of key stakeholder groups.  One of the opportunities that the silver economy represents is for commercial businesses to develop products and services that can be purchased both by older people and their families and also on behalf of them by institutions such as housing association and insurance companies.  The fast increasing share of the ageing population is set to become a major lead market for many commercial sectors, with consumer spending among those aged 60 and over rising 50% faster compared to those under 30.

This project is part-funded European Regional Development Fund.