Age Well went ahead as planned on Thursday the 10th September. This was the 6th annual event of its kind since it began in 2010. Once again, this year saw us move to a bigger venue as the event continues to grow in popularity with approximately 200 ‘delegates’ or attendees from the Birmingham 1000 Elders group –1000 Elders.

Age Well has become an annual public engagement event and is designed as a ‘thank you’ event in recognition of all the assistance the Birmingham 1000 Elders have provided over the course of the year in research studies, but also acts as an opportunity for researchers to communicate back to the Elders their latest research findings on how to age healthily.

Janet and Audience

Following a tried and tested format, we held a series of morning talks:

  • Professor Janet Lord – Physical activity and healthy ageing
  • Dr Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten – Rheumatoid Arthritis and Exercise.
  • Dr Matt Morgan – What have your kidneys ever done for you? (and what can you do for your kidneys)?
  • Professor Heather Draper – Robot and you
  • Dr Liz Sapey – Pneumonia in the ageing population

Following refreshments at lunch we then ran a series of afternoon practical sessions – a great opportunity for everyone to try out new activities such as ‘Laughter Yoga’ with Merrie Maggie (http://www.merriemaggie.co.uk/) , undertake a fitness MOT with Julie Robinson from ‘Move it or Lose It’ (http://www.moveitorloseit.co.uk/),  or learn something new about health by taking part in a discussion group.

Feedback scores and comments were extremely positive (94 feedback forms were returned). We asked for the following four elements of the day to be scored from excellent to very poor and as you can see the majority rated the elements as Excellent and Good.

Feedback Bar Chart

We were also interested to know whether attendees would attend Age Well again in the future – 91% said they would, and there were a handful of ‘maybes’. Crucially we are always keen to know if the information communicated about ageing healthily would be incorporated into the daily routines of those that came along.  The majority (83%) reported that they did plan to use the information learned.

We received some really encouraging comments, and were also given some great ideas for talk topics next year. There are always areas in which we can improve and we will act on this for Agewell 2016, these include: the sound quality and the hearing loop in the lecture theatre, better directional signs within the venue, allowing more time for the speakers to present and for questions, and having the sign-up for the afternoon practical sessions in the morning when people arrive to make it less rushed. Finally many said they would like a healthier lunch, more salads and fruit and less cake, which is great to hear and we will try to get this sorted for next year.

If you would like to be involved next year, would like to know more about the 1000 Elders group, or have any other comments or queries please contact Lisa Fuller (l.fuller.1@bham.ac.uk).

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