At the University of Southampton we’ve been working on the Active Ageing Index (AAI), a tool that monitors progress across European countries. We use it to assess the untapped potential among older people using 22 indicators that are grouped in four domains: employment, social participation, independent living and capacity for active ageing.

As the World Health Organisation says: “Active” refers to continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, not just the ability to be physically active or to participate in the labour force.

The latest AAI report shows how far healthy and active life during old age has become a reality for many in the current generation of older Europeans. The affluent Nordic and western European countries come out at the top of the AAI ranking. Sweden tops the table, while UK comes fourth. These high positions are in large part because of policies that sustain employment levels among older workers who are reaching retirement and also the provision for income security in their retired population.