• Our work

    Eurodiaconia links diaconal actors to examine social needs, develop ideas and influence policies impacting Poverty and Social Exclusion, Social and Health Care Services and the Future of Social Europe.

    Eurodiaconia also provides a platform for transnational networking and best practice sharing.  


  • Our vision

    As the leading network for diaconal work in Europe, we look to develop dialogue and partnership between members and influence and engage with the wider society.  We do this to enable inclusion, care and empowerment of the most vulnerable and excluded and ensure dignity for all.


  • Our goals

    We aim to see a positive social change in Europe through:

    Praxis, enabling membership engagement and partnerships

    Advocacy, creating a network of competence to impact policies at European and national level

    Identity and values, supporting the development of approaches and thinking on Diaconia in Europe today


Calendar Saturday, December 20, 2014
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Healthy ageing and long-term care

Eurodiaconia runs a network on Healthy Ageing and Long-term Care for members to engage in policy discussions related to ageing and care for older people, feeding into Eurodiaconia's advocacy work, and to share experiences and best practice in care for older people.

In the context of demographic change Eurodiaconia has focussed on services for older people. With Members Eurodiaconia drew up a policy paper in 2009 outlining the challenges members see in the field and proposing recommendations. This was developed and revised in 2014.

Key Eurodiaconia documents:

In 2012 a publication entitled "Ageing Well: Together" was launched which features reflections from Eurodiaconia and Heinz K. Becker MEP, recommendations and projects and services from members focusing on ensuring social inclusion for older people.

The European Commission published a working paper on long-term care in 2013, a briefing can be found below:

Eurodiaconia has been involved in the Coalition for the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between generations 2012 (EY2012) working for a stronger recognition of the role of social and health services in ensuring active ageing, independent living. Eurodiaconia contributed to the coalition's brochure which makes recommendations for different types of stakeholders on how to promote active ageing and intergenerational solidarity. The Roadmap provides an overview of of activities that the Coalition commit to undertaking in 2012 to ensure that all  relevant stakeholders will be actively involved in the  implementation of the  EY2012 and the European Union will do its outmost to complement and support Member States’ actions aiming at creating an Age-Friendly European Union  by 2020.

To learn more about healthy ageing and elderly care work in Eurodiaconia, please contact Laura Jones on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Diaconal organisations discuss creating age-friendly societies and treatment of dementia

15 November 2012

Diaconal organisations and partners from Central and Eastern Europe met with German diaconal partners in Berlin from the 5-9 November to commemorate 20 years of cooperation and look to the future, particularly on how to address the challenges associated with an ageing society.

The UN listed demographic ageing as one of three major global challenges in 21st century. Due to increased life expectancy, the numbers of people with dementia will increase hugely. Participants heard how actions can be taken to reduce the chances of dementia, even for persons with genetic tendencies to develop it. Preventive actions mainly relate to a healthy lifestyle; including physical exercise, a balanced diet, not smoking, drinking in moderation, as well as keeping the brain mentally active. Even once dementia has started, such actions can also help.berlin 1

Heather Roy, Eurodiaconia Secretary General, highlighted Eurodiaconia's concerns and recommendations, including the importance of addressing the problems of social isolation, loneliness and poverty of older people, tackling the taboo of dementia and ensuring an integrated approach to service provision and accessible environments. Other speakers echoed these concerns. Poverty and exclusion increase chances of developing dementia. Isolation can lead to depression, a risk factor for dementia, and persons in poverty often have unhealthy lifestyles or environments, other risk factors. One project presented worked with housing associations to reach out to isolated people, another approach is creating neighbourhood networks to connect communities, and in its most developed form “integrated service areas”.

Experts in dementia spoke of the difficulty in diagnosing it, especially in diagnosing the different sub-types. This means that treatment is often not well targeted. In the early stages of dementia, memory training can have as much impact as drugs and physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy should be more widely used.

berlin 2Awareness raising among both the public and within the medical profession is essential to address stigmatisation and break the taboo of dementia. It was clear from the discussions that the provision of information for families who have a relative with dementia needs to be improved, as well as family support, which in turn improves the life situation of the people with dementia. The Japanese use of case managers and the joint training of volunteers and professionals to work with older people were held up as good practice.

A full report, including outcomes from the group discussions and presentations, will be available from the conference organisers in English, German and Russian.

European Commission publishes "the EU contribution to active ageing and solidarity between generations"

8 October 2012

As part of activities related to the 2012 European Year, the Commission has published a 24-page brochure entitled "The EU contribution to Active Ageing and Solidarity between generations", outlining the role of EU funding programmes and strategies in this field. While it is acknowledged that most of the responsibility for dealing with this rapidly changing demographic falls to the member states, the EU institutions can support national projects and policy change. The publication aims to inspire Member States to take the necessary steps to ensure continuing solidarity between generations. Existing EU level measures are looked at, as well as looking at others still being discussed. 

The Commission website states, "The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 provides an opportunity to think about what we can do to make active ageing a reality and to commit to new initiatives in the years to come."

The brochure can be downloaded in all languages here.

Eurodiaconia Award 2012 goes to “Miteinander leben - Lagergasse”, Graz, Austria: integrated assisted living communities

10 October 2012

The 2012 Eurodiaconia Award will be given to “Miteinander leben", member of Eurodiaconia member Diakonie Austria, for the integrated assisted living community Lagergasse, Graz, Austria. In this community, people of all ages and occupations, from students and families to retirees and people with mental illnesses, share one roof. Each have their own space and maintain their autonomy, but they are integrated socially into the whole of the building, and can be assisted with tasks when necessary. It was described as "the perfect starting point for getting old in the middle of the city."

activity cenre

The Norwegian project In Search of the Good Life will also be recognised and Highly Commended. This is a mix of integrated activities and services run from the Engelsborg “open meeting centre” in Oslo, Norway, part of Eurodiaconia member Church City Mission Oslo. People of all ages in the neighborhood come both to volunteer and to take part in activities at the centre, which range from dancing to sport to simply eating together. There are various programmes available to keep people active and to strengthen the social connections of participants.

In honour of the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, the Award called for projects and services that contribute to promoting active ageing, in residential care and in the community.Entries were marked on their diaconal values, transferability, effectiveness, novelty, impact on active ageing and fostering solidarity between generations.

Ten entries were received in and all the Award entries will all be featured in a publication, highlighting their innovative elements and accompanying Eurodiaconia’s political messages about ageing. On the 5th and 6th of December there will be a seminar in the European Parliament looking at active ageing and social inclusion where the publication will be launched and the award presented, followed by an exhibition of members’ photos and a member meeting. For more information and to register for the meetings please see here.

More information about the Award can be found here.

Photos courtesy of:

NGOs adopt Political Declaration on Ageing at UN Forum critiquing Ministerial Declaration

1 October 2012

The Ministerial Conference on Ageing of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) took place on 19 and 20 September 2012 in Vienna. The conference hosted 56 member states of the UNECE to address the topic “Ensuring a society for all ages: promoting quality of life and active ageing”.  In this context, the NGO Forum on ageing took place on 18 September with the goal to bring together around 130 non-governmental organisations from all over the UNECE region to exchange information and opinions on policies on ageing.

The representatives of UNECE member states reaffirmed their commitment to the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, adopted at the UN Second World Assembly on Ageing held in Madrid in 2002, in a Ministerial Political Declaration. NGOs also played a major role in the UNECE conference and contributed as speakers and experts on the panels, as discussants and through the NGO Political Declaration which they presented on the second day of the conference. The declaration highlights the strengths and the weaknesses of the Ministerial Political Declaration. It recognises the achievements in line with the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, but also criticises its non-binding nature for member states and therefore urges them to protect the rights of older persons by enforcing the legislation that already exists. Our member Diakonie Oesterreich took part in the conference and was involved in the drafting of the NGO Political Declaration.

Members share experiences of 2012 European Year so far

1 October 2012

Eurodiaconia is talking to members about their experience of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (EY2012). Mixed feelings about the usefulness and impact of the EY2012 have been expressed.

In Austria the Ministry of Social Affairs set up a steering committee in the framework of the EY2012 composed of 60 to 70 representatives from public institutions and NGO representatives. The committee will have met four to five times during the year to speak about potential projects, communications and financing. Diakonie Austria was part of the committee but felt the committee did not have a lot of impact and was solely a platform for information. On a national level, there was no funding available throughout the year to carry out projects related to active ageing. Hence, Diakonie Austria didn’t receive financial support in order to organise events. However, Diakonie Austria worked in public relations on the issue and wrote press articles. Generally, the press and media coverage was perceived as rather low in Austria regarding the EY2012. Diakonie Austria mentioned that the previous European years have had a bigger impact.

A more positive impact of the Year was reported from Germany. According to the Diakonische Bundesverband, many organisations have been actively involved in shaping the European Year. A number of conferences were dedicated to the topic and it was also used as a catch phrase to advertise for events. In Germany the EY2012 has been mentioned regularly in the press.

On a federal level three conferences have been organised in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Nuremberg by the Diaconal organisations with the topic “Working with the elderly in local communities”. Politicians from different ministries and social workers had been invited to look at how our society needs to be organised, in order to actively involve the elderly and how funding for working with the elderly can be more sustainable. In December, a final conference will take place in Berlin titled “Demographic change – Myth or Reality”. It will focus on positive and negative aspects of an ageing society and what challenges arise for Diaconia.

The Church of Iceland participated in the opening conference of the EY2012 in Reykjavik which was seen as a useful occasion to bring stakeholders together who work with older people. Different musical projects brought together younger and older performers during the event. Iceland has a relatively high birthrate compared to other European countries but as elsewhere people are living increasingly longer so ageing is a key issue. There has been some media coverage of the year, particularly the opening event. There has been a particular focus on promoting intergenerational solidarity in Iceland during the Year and organisations representing older people have felt that the Year has brought a useful focus on important issues.

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