Elderly lady at home image

Seven research projects designed to support the UK Government’s healthy ageing agenda will share £10.7 million in funding provided by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The funding is set to help bring about home improvements for older people so that they can remain independent for longer as well as support this demographic to be more active and social connected.

The projects will work with both people with lived experience and business and industry partners to deliver the evidence needed to develop better products and services for people in the UK as they age.

Running for three years, the new multi-million-pound funding will see seven healthy ageing research projects begin this month.

Over this time, they will:

  • identify scalable and sustainable design improvements to homes that provide support for healthy cognitive ageing, allowing people to continue living in their homes for longer
  • help older people with cognitive impairment to be more active, independent and socially connected, experiencing a good quality of life through nature-based outdoor activities
  • address cognitive health inequality by investigating the impacts, and possible mechanistic pathways, of urban environments on healthy ageing and cognitive health
  • support over-50s to remain in work for longer by creating commercially viable, scalable products to support the less visible aspects of older workers’ health and wellbeing, including menopause and dementia, financial health/wellbeing, working carers and the health of self-employed older workers
  • address challenges in the recruitment, retention and enhancement of the health and wellbeing of older workers employed in residential care sectors
  • design, test, deliver and evaluate digital resources to facilitate structured activity programmes for ‘health connectivity’ in older age
  • address inequalities in arts and cultural participation in older populations, working with disabled, Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and deprived older people

Commenting on the announcement, Research Director Judith Phillips at Stirling University said: “The seven successful projects include innovative social, design and behavioural research which addresses key challenges of how we enable older people to live healthily for longer and narrow the gap in the experiences of the richest and poorest in society.

“The programme also presents opportunities for business to engage with academics and those with lived experience in delivering effective solutions to support people approaching later life.”

Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

It brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK.

According to UKRI, currently, one in 12 people in the UK are over 75. By 2040, it predicts that this number will rise to one in seven. It also says that 33 percent of children born now are expected to live to 100.

The organisation strives to help elderly people to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected for as long as possible.

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