Older People and Quality of Life Project
This project was awarded £97,234 to run between May 2016 and April 2017.
Age Scotland and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling were funded by the Trust to conduct research on quality of life in later years, to give voice to older people on what they believe most impacts their quality of life, and what they would want their quality of life to be if they ever had dementia or were a carer.
Though there had been quality of life studies in the past, none had involved older people with dementia as co-researchers. This project used the principle of co-production and provided training and support for people (aged over 50), including people living with dementia, to become “community researchers”. They were trained in the use of a variety of research methods, including visual methods analysis, focus group methodology and survey design. Community researchers worked in small teams, alongside researchers at the University of Stirling, in gathering visual representations of a good life, in running community discussions, and in developing a nationwide survey.
Many themes arose from this research on what was important to people for a good quality of life in later years. These included being part of a community, health, wellbeing, being able to access technology, having intergenerational connections, being listened to, being able to have a safe familiar home, having independence and choice, and being able to take part in hobbies and interests.
Evidence from this project is already being used to influence the Scottish Government and policy makers. We hope that this project will help to shape future policy and practice, through supporting the voices of older people.
Key findings were launched at a Parliamentary Reception in September 2017, hosted by MSP Bruce Crawford.