Psychology workshop leads to the development of an all-Wales network for research on prevention of age-related cognitive decline and disability.

Recently the School of Psychology hosted a workshop to discuss the prevention of age related disability and dementia (organised by Prof Linda Clare). The workshop was well attended by academics, health professionals and representatives from voluntary sector organisations and local government. Dr Tony Jewell, Chief Medical Officer for Wales and Ruth Marks, Older People's Commissioner for Wales both gave keynote talks and participated in discussions.

Ruth Marks commented after the event: "Getting prevention right in Wales is crucial for supporting older people to be healthy and independent for as long as possible. During discussions at the Ageing Well workshop I focussed on five key themes based on the United Nations Principles for Older Persons. These were:  Independence - this includes aids and adaptations to help people remain at home; Participation - volunteering and involvement in communities; Care - designing services with the involvement of older people; Self fulfilment - ensuring learning and social opportunities are available; and Dignity - treating older people the way we would like to be treated ourselves.  Preventing ill health and disability is not just about physical health; it must include helping people remain active and engaged in their communities. There should be a choice of activities available that are based on older people's needs and interests. Older people are very diverse and must be involved in planning and designing services to make sure that they are well used and deliver good value."

Delegates also heard a call to action from the Alzheimer’s Society, presented by Research Director Professor Clive Ballard. Innovative approaches developed by Age Cymru Gwynedd and Mon (ACGM), aimed at supporting healthy ageing, were introduced. These approaches are currently the focus of research being conducted in partnership between ACGM and Bangor University. The outcome of the workshop was the formation of an all-Wales network for research on prevention of age-related cognitive decline and disability. The main aim of this network will be to develop research initiatives addressing the challenge of enabling people to maintain cognitive health and well-being in later life.

Publication date: 1 December 2011