What do we understand as a good life in our later years?
This is the central question in a current research project, 30 community researchers across Scotland are currently working to find out what the essence of a good life is and what older people need to achieve and/or maintain a good life.
The project will also explore how quality of life differs for people with a long term condition, like dementia, as well as older people who become carers for a partner, relative or friend.
We aim to use our findings to influence decision makers to improve policies that support older people as they age.
Our community researchers have used a number of methods to gather this information, including focus groups, which have involved people from across the country. Key ‘quality of life’ themes that have emerged from these meetings include:
- personal independence
- health and wellbeing
- care and support
- mobility and transport
- the role of older people in society.
To involve and engage as many older people as possible and to gain further insight we have developed a survey which will be distributed across Scotland. You can contribute to the project by completing the questionnaire online.
The project has proven an enriching experience from both academic and community researchers alike
Dr. Corinne Greasley-Adams, Research Fellow at the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences, said:
“We are using a unique approach that blends the knowledge and skills of both community and university researchers, whilst providing a platform for new learning and experiences.
“Through this project we are demonstrating how it is possible to do research with people rather than about people that can make a real, tangible difference to their lives."
Ro Pengelly, community researcher, Aberdeen group said:
“Being involved in this research project has been a pleasure because of its openness to hearing about what is happening in practice; and because of its ethos that every human is an asset, with energies and interests even when getting older. A Good Life is co-production at its best, with applied research that can then help inform policy-making within research communities, charities and governments.”
Janice Mason Duff, community researcher, Stirling group said:
“It was a meeting of the old and the new in more ways than one! New research methods, meeting new people but at the same time using some of the old skills that I had learned in my career. I enjoyed facilitating one of the focus group sessions and being part of the wider research team. It made me feel valued in the sense that I could still contribute in a positive way to a worthwhile and relevant project.”
We encourage you to share the questionnaire with relative, friends and colleagues to help us get as broad a response as possible.
Paper copies of the questionnaire can be received by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Age Scotland Policy Team on 0333 323 2400.
The findings will be summarised in a final written and video report, and a series of short reports and posters on key themes. We will also produce a toolkit to support similar projects in the future.
The report will be published in autumn 2017.
Age Scotland and the University of Stirling have been funded by the Life Changes Trust to conduct research on quality of life in later years.