Agewell is a free annual event where we get the chance to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the Birmingham 1000 Elders for the support they give to our research projects over the last year. It is also our way of feeding back to you our research results and to offer you the chance to take part in interactive sessions focusing on healthy ageing.
This year we broke from tradition and went off-campus to Carrs Lane Conference Centre in Birmingham City Centre for our annual Agewell event.
With the end of the first 5-year phase of the MRC-ARUK-funded Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research on the 30th of September, Agewell was the perfect opportunity to communicate our main research findings. In addition to this, we also wanted to give an opportunity to our early career researchers, many of whom were funded by the Centre, to present their research results to a mostly non-scientific audience. It was also an excellent opportunity to feedback research results directly to those 1000 elders’ members who volunteered their time to help with data collection.
This year, unlike in previous years Agewell was an oral presentation based afternoon without our usual small group activities (although we do hope to bring back the activity sessions next year). Our popular and interactive ‘meet the researcher’ still went ahead with great success.
The afternoon started with an introduction by Professor Janet Lord, we heard presentations from a several doctoral research students and research fellows and the afternoon was brought to a close by Paul Greenhaff (Professor of Metabolic and Molecular Physiology at the University of Nottingham)
We received a lot of positive feedback about our choice of venue this year. Most appealing was the centrality, the ease of access by public transport and the good facilities. Agewell 2018 will be held on Monday the 10th of September at Carrs Lane Conference centre – registration and further details will be available next summer.
Age Well went ahead as planned on Thursday the 10th September 2015. 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.
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.
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, undertake a fitness MOT with Julie Robinson from ‘Move it or Lose It’, 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.
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 us.