Adulthood 2.0 - A new answer to demographic change

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Adulthood 2.0 - A new answer to demographic change

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Tackling real needs for a fundamental change of paradigm in the field of senior work to reach the younger seniors' generation (aged 50-70 years).

About Project

Problème : Quel problème ce projet essaie-t-il d'adresser ?

Everybody knows about the extened lifetime-expectancy and the fact that classical biographical patterns (i.e. "normal biography") have changed during the last decades. In consequence "these newly gained" years, younger seniors (50+) exhibit a tendency to fade-out or "delay" facing age-related tasks and challenges at a later stage of life. In addition, there is a societal tendency for “re-responsibilizing” the individual for his/her successful ageing, whereupon offers and activities by organisations for the elderly are tailored to fit best the needs and interests of the "older" seniors (aged 70+ years). Paradoxically, even though everyone seems to acknowlegde the necessity to "adjust", there is much difficulty to implement an establish concrete actions: On the individual level, procrastination, immunization or even resignation depict main "barriers" to a pro-active adjustment. On the institutional level, work with "younger seniors" is a challenging task, which is - at the same - time often executed by precisely "elderly" professionals or volunteers, who are not sharing the same interests. If the increasing number of elderly should life autonomously and with dignity - despite decreasing public social security ressources - elderly person require solid social networks and easy access to a welfare mix! In sum: - few persons are taking advantage of the offers for seniors (only 20% and these persons are, in general, aged 70+; only 0,5 ‰ are aged between 50-60 years) - those seniors participating at these activities are already active and retired - going to a Senior Club is indirectly associated with an "outing" as "senior", which is implicitly associated with a stereotypical image of being an "old" and "passive consumer" rather than an "active creator" of one's ageing process. - institutional activities and offers for the elderly seem rather detached and disconnected from each other. Although all offers are addressing persons aged 50+ years, the acceptance of the different offers varies dramatically depending on the topics/content (offers addressing work-related issues or lifelong learning are more appreciated and much more valued than classical senior activities, e.g. senior hubs, walking, gaming,..). - How to reach the "younger" seniors (still involved in working life) and stimulate mental adjustment to subtle upcoming age-related changes?

Solution: Quelle est la solution proposée? S.v.p soyez précis!

In order to reach the "young seniors" (distancing themselves from the ageing terminology ) RBS is choosing a radical change of paradigm regarding gerontological constructs and terminology. Concepts like "active ageing", intergenerational relations, Senior Clubs, etc. are - at best - reaching persons aged 70+ years and reveal to be either deterrent or inappropriate for persons aged 50+. The recent gain in lifetime-expenctancy comes along with a shift in the "normal biography" prolonging the phase of middle adulthood of 20 years. In consequence, the classical terminology (e.g. childhood, youth, adulthood, old age) no longer applies to the living (and ageing) realities of the 50-70 years old persons thus making a refraiming of the terminology crucial! Therefore, we consequently replaced "young senior age" by a new (rather uncontroversial) term "adulthood 2.0" Concret actions: Refraiming terminology and concepts: On the basis of an "essayistic" theoretical framework on "Adulthood 2.0" gerontological terms were consequently replaced by developmental psychology concepts to describe age-related processes, changes and challenges taking place during the life-phase 50-70 years. In this reagrd all project-related actions (i.e slogans, titles and content for events and manifestations) were elaborated without making the gerontological background obvious. By choosing the right slogan for an event, e.g. "Sprachlos oder sprich drauf los" (addressing communication-related changes and problems between young and older employees) it became possible to attract most exclusively the target population! The event "L'Europe au Comptoir" - an open discussion round with a EU-politician organized in a local pub - revealed to be another successful concept to reach the taget population (50+). Since december 2012, RBS started a campaign with "big events, open discussion rounds, high media and press presence (articles on adulthood 2.0, coverages, interviews, conceptualization and editing of the magazine MID-LIFE available in bookstalls). With the support of several communities and social commissions we started the RBS-Tour, which is linked with a proper webseite (displaying all new activities, upcoming events, related press articles, photos and videos). Thus, in a 6-months time more of the target population were reached than during the whole active ageing year 2012
Impact: How does it Work

Exemple : Faites nous découvrir comment cette solution fait la différence en utilisant un ou plusieurs exemples concrets ; en incluant aussi ses activités principales.

Our conceptual reframing runs like a golden thread through all our activities and differs from other solution with respect to the following aspects: 1) Choosing the right location: mostly uncommon and attractive venues (cinema, pubs, ..), allowing a casual and informal discussion climate. 2) Using catchy slogans and titles: finding the right words to reach the target population, avoding an "age"-related terminology and using instead positivly connotated terms like "change", "shift", "development". 3) Innovative didactic methods: avoding classical tools (no sermon or monologue) but using uncommon tools, like pictures or paintings to encourgae discussions). 4) choosing the right approach: open discussion round with a national VIP, actively address and involve participants, stimulate interaction and exchange between the participants. Example: RBS-Tour in Berbourg (see link to press article below) 31090136.html?referrer=ic_dispatcher_$item.type

Marché : Qui d'autre adresse les problèmes mentionnés ici ? Comment ce projet diffère-t-il de ces approches ?

In fact there are numerous initiatives and organisations proposing activities to foster active ageing of senior citizens. These organisations (e.g. Amiperas), however, are proposing offers that are either dedicated to older seniors (70+), while Senior Clubs and 3rd Age Commissions are trying hard to attract also the younger traget population. However, these organisations encounter other barriers: First, most of the involved staff (professionals and volunteers) are themselves part of the taget "age group" and may (unknowingly) distance themselves from a confrontation with their own ageing by focusing on the work with "old old persons", thus allowing "downward social comparisons" serving a self-regulative function. Second, by doing so, their programs/offers are not well adjusted according to to the interests and demands of "new generation" of younger seniors. In this regard, RBS - as a national institute for better ageing - is in charge of the development and evaluation if new apporaches and methods for addressing age-related issues, which may serve as "best-practice examples" for other organisations. RBS thus inherits not so much a "competitive" but rather a "pinoneer" function.
A propos de vous
A propos de vous




Implementer(s) and cooperation partners

RBS-Center fir Altersfroen


organisation à but non lucratif

Country where main implementer is located

, LL

How long has the main implementer been operating?

Plus 5 années

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

RBS was founded in 1989 as an initiative of the family ministry, to face the challenge of the ongoing demographic change of the population structure and its sociopolitical implications. Main goals:
1) Professional training for management and staff in the elderly care service sector (out-patient care and residential care)
2) National promotion of life long learning, active ageing and qualified volunteering for the elderly
3) Scientific knowledge production, dissemination and transmission of evidence-based best practice guidance
4) A platform for socially important, age-related questions

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Cooperation partner

Ministry of Family Affairs and Integration


Public body

URL du site Web
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Framing the project actions (i.e. discussing contents and co-organizing concrete events/activities), supporting and promulgating the project implementation on a national level.

Cooperation partner

UVB University of Bruxelles (Prof. Dominique Verté)



URL du site Web
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

The project is part of the INTERREG SeNS IVB program, which is conceptually framed, supervised and evaluated by the UVB.

Cooperation partner

SYVICOL Syndicat des Villes et Communes Luxembourgeoises


Public body

URL du site Web
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Promulgation and support of the concret project implementation by the social commissions

Cooperation partner

Veuillez sélectionner

URL du site Web
How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Approximately 50 words left (300 characters).

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Independent living solutions, Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering).

If none of the above, answer here:

encouragement for a new beginning at 50+ years

Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

The involvement and the collaboration with our stakeholders, cooperation partners and target users are crucial for implementing and promoting a sustainable solution. Sticking to the example of the RBS-Tour in Berboug, the RBS-Tour concept was supported by the 3rd Age Commission (inclusive the president of the commission), several key figures of the local council (inclusive the major), a member of the Luxembourg Parliament and, last but not least, the owner of the Pub (Beim Beichtstull). The slogan of the discussion round was "My new life -big freedom" with a member of the Parliament as invited "Tour-guest" discussing with the director of RBS and all participants joining the Tour at the pub.
This collaboration guaranteed a "full-house" event, with a high involvement and inspring discussions that continued even several hours after the official discussion round was finished.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

It is a main goal to evaluate the success of our project endeavors and provide factual evidence for reaching our target population (50+).
In this reagrd, our statistics speak for themselves: The conceptual refraiming (adulthood 2.0) and the mixture of public relation work and direct contact (i.e. mixed methods approach) implied an increase in popularity that showed up in the number of participants at the events and the disposal of the MID-LIFE magazine.
With top events and the RBS-Tour about 600 persons of the target population were reached. Furthermore, the MID-LIFE magazine radically increased the number of new memberships at RBS (150 persons aged 50-65).

Depuis combien de temps votre solution est-elle en vigueur?

for 1‐5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

complementary (your solution is complementing existing solutions and compensating their weaknesses while not intending to substitute them)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

The consideration of the age range 50-70 years as a distinct life phase still abuts on the traditional assumption (induced by the statutory retirement age) that the personal development of older employees in the active work life has to be considered "separately" from retirement preparation and workplace health promotion. In consequence, incentives and activities organised by the different ministries, organisations, associations and institutions are elaborated and implemented "in parallel". A possible barrier that might hinder the success of our initiative, could be an objection that RBS (as a national institute of gerontology) is "transgressing" its national mission or crossing the line by entering into the field of "labor" or even by mixing up "ageing and working-life". A way to counteract these possible objections lies in convincing policy makers, social commissions, journalists and engaged key figures about the necessity to rethink traditional ageing constructs in order to controvert obsolete normative assumptions and move towards a continuous lifespan developmental perspective, allowing innovative measures for older workers, new retirement models, health promotion programs.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees






External advisers and experts


Others (please specify)
What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

Our multiprofessional team is composed of 14 members from the fields of gerontology, psychology, pedagogy, journalism as well as humanities and social sciences research. Besides the specific competence profile, our team has a long-standing experience in organizing and implementing specialized congresses, international workshops as well as public events and huge manifestations.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

The project is embedded in the INTERREG IVB program and conducted under external supervision of the University of Bruxelles.
The conception and development of the initiative was monitored by a steering group (advisory body), involving policy makers, stakeholders, key figures and implemented in interaction with target population.

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.


National public funding


European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services


Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies


Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Autre (veuillez spécifier)


Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

The target group for the pilot project are individuals in "adulthood 2.0", i.e. aged 50-70 years, still involved in active working life or about to retire to inform about the changes and challenges of this new lifephase and show pathways and best practice examples to plan, organise and shape their future. Recent studies suggest that this target group (50-70) is especially exposed to high levels of stress and unhealthy living conditions. A change of paradigm regarding the life phase 50 to 70 years is thus prerequisite for living the gained years “up to the fullest".

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.


In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

Luxembourg (to be implemented in Germany as well)

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

Induce a change of paradigm regarding the life phase 50 to 70 years. Raise awareness on the need to acknowledge subtle age-related changes, develop a good life-work-balance, prevent burnout, building up sustainable social (inter- and intragenerational) networks. Adulthood 2.0 is a crucial life-period to set the course for a "morbidity compression" in older age.

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

Stimulate a societal change in paradigm regarding the ageing topic:
1) Encourage processes to overcome the collective phobia of age-related change and deficit-oriented - societal and individual attitudes towards ageing, and allow new perspectives on living and ageing well in a society of longevity.
2) Foster the development of sustainable social networks and use the capital of these networks for the ageing society to relieve the welfare systems.
3) Promote a healthy and active living style in "adulthood 2.0" in order to achieve a "morbidity compression" in old and old old age (80+ years).

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

The concept on adulthood 2.0 is at the basis of the all activities and events that are taking place in the context of the project. In general, the project is well accepted by the ministry of family and integration, communities and social commissions, as well by key figures (policy makers, authors, journalists). Organisations for the elderly strongly welcome the new approach and already implemented some the newly developed methods and programs. Also on the level of the target population the project reveals to be a "success" (high number of participants 50-70 are reached by the specific events).

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), External evaluation of impacts based on qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, etc.), External evaluation of impacts based on quantitative methods (quantitative measurement of impact indicators).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Organisational structure, Information on team members, Activity report.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

1) RBS-Tour will be extended in more regions in Luxembourg (even transnationally to Germany)
2) Publication of the MID-Life magazine is planned on regular basis twice a year
3) Systematic involvement and cooperation with professional and volunteers' organisations and institutions, train-the-trainer approach to guarantee duration and consistency of the methods
4) Establish sustainable and solid social networks between the target population
4) Future conferences with policy makers & political key figures to consolidate the conceptual framework as directive for political decision-making.