The first work package of the Advanced Care Research Centre.
The stakeholder engagement programme will instigate a national dialogue using a Citizen Science (co-production) approach, fostering a shared sense of ownership with the public. We will use multiple channels of engagement and dissemination to stimulate a broad, informed debate about how the health and care sector and wider society should respond to the growing challenge of an ageing population. The aim is to assemble the expertise, evidence and environment to create the ‘go to’ source for care policymakers seeking insight and inspiration. We also plan to engage in the debate to help challenge misconceptions and biases around older age that are widespread across communities, and ultimately reframing the ‘problem’ of ageing more appropriately as a balance of positives and negatives that we all have to manage better.
Dissemination Outputs and Impact.
To understand the complex factors that influence our perceptions on old age and ageing, and ultimately to provoke transformational changes to improve quality of life and care models, this proposed work package will:
- Capture people’s narratives around older age, ageing and associated concepts such as care and wellbeing, drawing out the similarities and differences between individuals and communities, analysing intergenerational and cultural diversity, as well as understanding the psychological, socio-contextual, institutional and environmental factors underlying these narratives.
- Challenge these narratives by providing a safe, non-judgmental and non-stigmatised platform that will empower people, professionals, and communities to engage in honest and open reflections and discussions around older age, ageing and related sensitive topics.
- Change these narratives by leading national debates involving service users and their families, carers, practitioners, policy makers, representatives from relevant stakeholder groups and members of the public, with coherent plans to ensure a clear translational pipeline by which outcomes of these debates will feed effectively into future research, innovation, and service design and delivery concerning people of older age.
The consequences of an ageing population will affect us all: as individuals with changing needs and circumstances, as carers for others, as taxpayers, as service providers, as public and private funders and more. Ageing is clearly associated with ill-health and death, but ageing societies also have many positives. These include the often-unrecognised value and contribution to society that older people make, not least through their role in providing care to their peers, children and grandchildren. Too often though, the debate about ageing is negatively framed in terms of rising costs and arguments over who should pay for care which limits open discussion and debate. Broad stakeholder engagement is therefore critical for the ACRC to succeed, and to inform and shape the evolution of public perception, policy and service design over the next decade.
We will launch our flagship project “Images of Caring”, specifically designed to capture, challenge, and change perspectives around ageing and care through images submitted and narrated by members of the general public, selected communities and relevant stakeholders. As well as online engagement, we will bring the images on tour across the UK and organise events around the exhibitions to facilitate debates within and across communities. As ageing is a global challenge, we will also reach to worldwide audiences through our online gallery. We will also explore opportunities to work with international partners to foster engagement and collaborations beyond the UK. This project and its outputs, including the networks it will create, will open up wide opportunities and build substantial capacity to support the other work packages within ACRC.