Published : 2020-09-01

Activity theory as a foundation for active ageing policy: the Maltese experience

Marvin Formosa


Reflecting upon the possibility of a value-free policy that is unfettered from any epistemic morals, this article focuses on the overt and covert influences involved in the Maltese government's choice to hinge aging policy on activity theory. The influence of activity theory on international and national aging policies reached unprecedented heights as the World Health Organization, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and European Union all began championing the concept of active aging as the foundation for aging policy in their respective member organizations. An Active Ageing Index was also developed to quantify the extent to which older persons can realize their potential for active aging lifestyles. Malta also supported such a policy ethos, and in November 2013, the Maltese government launched the National Strategic Policy for Active Ageing: Malta 2014-2020. While this strategic policy was successful in enabling higher rates of employment, social participation, and independent living amongst persons aged 60-plus, at the same time, it overlooked the heterogeneity of older persons in terms of socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability. The possibility that active aging lifestyles are stifled by older persons' experiences of ageism and age discrimination was also overlooked. It is augured that the second National Strategic Policy for active aging policy in Malta, targeting the years 2021-2027, mitigates against such lacunae by employing a more democratic understanding of activity theory and active aging ideals.


demography, gerontology, ageing welfare, activity theory, active ageing





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Formosa, M. (2020). Activity theory as a foundation for active ageing policy: the Maltese experience. Exlibris Social Gerontology Journal, 18(1), 13–24.

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