Date of release: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

 Positive ageingHelping people to grow older in a happy and healthy way is the subject of a major new research programme at the University of Greenwich.

In response to the challenges posed to society by rapid demographic change, in which the number of older people is increasing far more quickly than other sections of the population, the university is launching its Centre for Positive Ageing.

Researchers will investigate a variety of areas that affect older people – such as pain, falls, dementia and other long-term conditions, housing and access to technology – in order to help individuals live healthier and more fulfilling lives, supported by better health and social care services.

Over the next 25 years, in Britain alone, the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to grow from nearly ten million to 15 million.

The centre, which has its official launch at the university on Thursday 23 January, will bring together academics from a range of disciplines across the university – from health and pharmacy to science and technology – to share their expertise. It will also call upon advice and guidance from senior professionals in the NHS and voluntary organisations such as Age UK.

Academics will make funding bids to promote physical and mental health, and to develop community support facilities and networks. The centre’s experts will also aim to contribute to national policy on ageing.

Pat Schofield, Professor of Nursing at Greenwich and a leading expert on the subject of chronic pain management, is the Head of the new centre. She says: “The key message is that ageing should not be viewed as a terrible process that brings nothing but misery. There are many steps that can be taken so that people make the best of their older years.

“It’s the desire of all involved in our research that people should approach the end of their lives in a productive and active way. They can make a positive contribution and enjoy life as long as possible.

“The challenge of dealing with an ageing population is immense, and some of the solutions will need to combine areas of science, technology, economics and politics. By establishing the Centre for Positive Ageing, we are tapping into a great deal of expertise, which will be needed for establishing workable and far-reaching policies.”

The launch takes place at the Greenwich Campus between 5pm and 6.30pm in Queen Anne 075. Speakers will be Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Honorary Vice- President of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health; David Thompson, Professor of Health Services Research within the university’s Faculty of Education & Health; and Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive, English Care in the Community Association.

A celebration buffet will follow the talks and all are welcome to attend. For further details on the launch, please contact P.A.Schofield@gre.ac.uk

Story by Public Relations