SHAPES Project

SHAPES Project logo

Background information

In 2019 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared 2020-2030 the decade of Healthy Ageing. SHAPES (Smart and Health Ageing through People Engaging in Supportive Systems) is an Innovation Action funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme involving a total of 14 European countries, including Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Germany.

SHAPES Large-scale Piloting campaign engages more than 2000 older individuals in 15 pilot sites in 10 EU Member States, including 6 Reference Sites of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA), and involves hundreds of key stakeholders to bring forth solutions to improve the health, wellbeing, independence and autonomy of older individuals, while enhancing the long-term sustainability of health and care systems in Europe.

It intends to build, pilot and deploy a large-scale, EU-standardised open platform. The integration of a broad range of technological, organisational, clinical, educational and societal solutions seeks to facilitate long-term healthy and active ageing and the maintenance of a high-quality standard of life. Mediated by technology, in-home and local community environments interact with health and care (H&C) networks contributing to the reduction of H&C costs, hospitalisations and institutional care.

This integrated IT platform will bring together user led digital solutions centred around the home and community to improve the health, well-being, and independence of people as they get older.

This platform will offer a network of digital services and products, that will empower older adults, families and caregivers, to solve real and meaningful problems. These solutions are intended for older adults facing physical or psychological impairments, but also to help those who are healthy to maintain their health and well-being for as long as possible.

SHAPES will foster European industry and policymakers to successfully face the challenges of an aging population. In addition, it will favour the development of value-based business models that focus on digital health and care solutions and services.

The project is a collaboration between 36 organisations, led by the ALL (Assisting Living & Learning) Institute at University of Maynooth, Ireland.

The project will last 48 months (from November 2019 to October 2023). It will involve the creation of a digital platform, as well as the development and improvement of 15 technological and social solutions. These solutions will be tested by more than 2,000 older adults across the countries involved in SHAPES, to ensure they adapt to users from different countries and cultures. SHAPES provides for the collection and analysis of participants’ health, environmental and lifestyle experiences, in order to identify needs and provide personalized solutions.

Apart from such EU wide interdisciplinary consortium with blended expertise, SHAPES will also involve hundreds of professionals from different areas of knowledge and practice, including health and social care, government, academia and industry. With an investment of almost 21 million €, SHAPES is a broad initiative to encompass the needs and expectations of older adults, a population group that, according to the United Nations, grows 3% on average per year.

Overall project value is of 20,944,318.75€ of which 18,732,468.25€ is direct EU contribution.

WFDB’s role in project

  • Bring to SHAPES the perspective of the deafblind community
  • Coordinate and facilitate the participation of older persons with deafblindness across Europe into the project
  • Contribute with the unique knowledge and understanding of people with deafblindness and their diverse needs, when it comes to the creation of ICT solutions
  • Coordinate with WFDB members in Europe, including The European Deafblind Union (EDbU), the testing of the SHAPES platform and digital solutions
  • Ensure the overall accessibility of project and its resources

General objectives

  • Raise awareness both within the project consortium and outside of it on the living conditions, desires, needs, accessibility requirements, etc of older persons with deafblindness
  • The creation of a platform and innovative technology to prevent the isolation of persons with deafblindness, improving their participation, integration and visibility in society
  • Disseminate the results from the project through different information channels e.g. social media, website, etc
  • Achieve the equality and integration of all older persons with deafblindness in all areas of society

Project involvement in a nutshell

  • WFDB is involved in 7 out of 10 Work Packages (WP) and participates extensively in WP2 and in WP3
  • Within WP6, on the SHAPES large-scale piloting activities, WFDB participates in Task 6.8 focused on the mobility and accessibility of older individuals and in Task 6.10 addressing the inclusion element of the SHAPES solutions.
  • WFDB takes part in Task 7.2 on the socio-economic sustainability and funding models of the new health and care delivery in Europe, WP9 – Ecosystem Building and to WP10 – SHAPES Outreach and Awareness Generation activities

Examples of concrete outcomes

  • Interview 5 older persons with deafblindness in Europe to gather quantitative information on their situation, challenges and barriers
  • Provide feedback on the accessibility of digital resources produced by SHAPES
  • Contribute to the production and accessibility of resources, reports and guidelines produced by SHAPES
  • Build SHAPES Personas and Use Cases that contribute to the creation of personalised solutions
  • Ensure digital accessibility and inclusive language of newsletters, promotional material, meetings, reports and other resources


The COVID-19 pandemic has :

  • Created opportunities to learn from the impact of COVID-19 on older people.
  • Created opportunities to build systems that centre around individuals living in their own communities and homes.
  • Contributed to the creation of forward looking public health policy – enabling prevention and improved management of health conditions.
  • Allowed solutions such as SHAPES improve the management of future global health crises.
  • Read the joint publication: COVID-19 as social disability – the opportunity of social empathy for empowerment

More information

EU reading "this project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857159"

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