Social Innovation in Active and Healthy Ageing

An ageing population changes the pattern of demands on health and care services and has potential to compromise Europe’s competitiveness and economic growth, unless new ways are found to embrace not only the challenges but also the full range of opportunities accompanying the demographic changes. Social innovation in the area of ageing is a promising approach to tackle these challenges and opportunities. Key elements of social innovation include: an orientation towards meeting social needs, problems and values; the introduction of new social practices; user participation and acceptance; and realization of both societal and individual benefits.

Four European Foundations - the King Baudouin Foundation, La Caixa Foundation, UniCredit Foundation and the Erste Stiftung - launched in 2013 “Social Innovation in Ageing - The European Award”. The award aimed at promoting and supporting social innovation in the field of active and healthy ageing in Europe.

The award finalists participated in a case study analysis where researchers took a closer look at the context, the process, barriers, the impact and scaling-up potential of the 20 social innovations. The produced case studies and the learnings from them were published in 2014. This publication was the culmination of the overall process and underscored the power of social innovation.

The 20 case studies were the basis for a further selection with the aim of transferring two relevant social innovations into Belgium. One of the selected projects – selected by Belgian stakeholders and elderly themselves - is “Tubbemodelen” a new participatory way to manage nursing homes with a strong participation of elderly and staff developed in Scandinavia.

The Foundation organised field trips to Sweden with representatives from the Belgian administrations, key practitioners and leaders from umbrella care organisations and directors of nursing homes with a strong entrepreneurial spirit to test their interest and the model adaptability, to motivate directors to start pilot projects in their nursing homes, creating ownership among participants. The Foundation hired consultants who accompany the Belgian pilots as well as evaluators who monitor the implementation. For more see brochures below.

Link to study:

Link to Publication: The Tubbe Model, an organisational and management model for residential and care homes

Link to changemakers website:


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