Technology and sexuality among older people were two of the issues discussed as experts on different aspects of ageing from across Middlesex University came together at the Researching Elders Conference last week.
Members of the voluntary and statutory sector, participated in the conference chaired by Julia Hines, Chair of Age Concern Barnet, in the recently opened Barn on the Hendon campus on Thursday.
Researchers discussed local, national and international issues around ageing including attitudes to old age and retirement across the world. Presentations included the experiences of older people in Barnet, the hidden needs Irish and Chinese communities in London, and the role of the Catholic Church as a provider of services for older people. Presenters demonstrated the potential of digital technology to address social exclusion and enhance social interaction as well as offering contemporary approaches to address sexuality and ageing in professional education programmes.
Dr Mary Tilki, of the University’s School of Health and Social Sciences, said: “All of our contributors were talking about the highly relevant research undertaken or still in progress. This was a great opportunity to showcase our work, enhancing and building collaborative links for future research at local and national level”
Among the speakers was Suzette Keith from EIS, who discussed her research into older people’s use of technology and how stereotypes about the relationships between older people and technology were largely incorrect. Suzette is part of the £1.5m Sus-IT research project, in which a group of 7 universities is looking at how older people can help shape the design of future technology projects. She is particularly interested in harder to reach groups among the elderly community.
Dr Tilki said: “The conference began life as a small event but grew because of the volume of research related to elders across the university. Having researchers from all of the university’s schools at this conference demonstrated the breadth of activity in this area at Middlesex. “We were particularly pleased to be able to welcome collaborative or potentially collaborative partners from community, elders’ and minority ethnic organisations, Local Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, and charitable bodies to share our findings and create a platform for sharing our ideas.”