The Healthy Later Living Network has many research projects around this theme – working with different populations in varied locations to explore the valuable role that communities play in the lives of older adults, and the valuable role that older adults play in their communities.
Health, Community and Place
The Healthy Later Living Network recognises the importance of social connections and community for maintaining health and wellbeing in later life.
The Importance of Community
Social connection and community is protective against ill health and enhances health and wellbeing.
Our research exploring Health, Community and Place.
- Loneliness and social isolation
- The value of social connections
- Challenging negative stereotypes
- Creating more age-friendly and inclusive local environments
- Understanding barriers older adults face in the community
- Creating accessible places
- Extending working life
- Designing age friendly homes
- Coping with death and bereavement
- Lifelong education
Our projects from the Healthy Later Living Network relating to Health, Community and Place.
The Loneliness Project
Exploring how ageing poses unique challenges in relation to feelings of intimacy, emotional connection, and loneliness. Our findings have provided powerful insight into the inevitable experiences of loss and disconnection that ageing can bring about. An important part of the project will be to consider the meaning of these findings for new-era retirement living that genuinely aims to support deeper feelings of loneliness in older people. More on this project.
Challenging negative stereotyping of ageing and physical activity
We are working to challenge and reverse negative stereotyping of ageing and physical activity through creating provocative 'trigger films' that prompt us to see things differently. Cultural and social changes in attitudes and norms in other domains have been influenced by memorable moments in the media that have caught public attention - for example, the first gay kiss on EastEnders, or the domino effect started by David Attenborough's Blue Planet. More on this project.
The Listening Project
Involving informal conversations with older adults in a group setting to help understand the barriers and problems older generations face in current society. This has been very successful in highlighting the importance of community, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. See our latest blog on making space for conversations with the listening project.
Vertically Integrated Project
Intergenerational engagement in research and teaching: Challenging stereotypes and promoting positive ageing is an innovative project which brings together University of Bath students from across disciplines and year-groups to explore how the University can work with the local council and older adults to help create a more age-friendly and inclusive local environment. The project aims to inform research and teaching and to contribute to local policy making. More on this project.
Academic staff from many disciplines across the University of Bath are engaged in research which impacts Healthy Later Living.
The following academics are involved in this research theme:
- Professor Julie Barnett, Healthy Later Living Network Lead, Department of Psychology: Loneliness and the ways in which digital technologies can help build social connections.
- Dr Leda Blackwood, Department of Psychology: Social movements and community advocacy.
- Professor Louise Brown, Department of Social and Policy Sciences: Social innovation, innovation theory, child protection.
- Dr Sam Carr, Department of Education: The role of human relationships shaping psychological experiences, the development of human motivation and emotional loneliness.
- Dr Ricardo Codinhoto, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering: Supporting the design practice for health and wellbeing.
- Dr Simon Hayhoe, Department of Education: Ageing, impairment and access to cultural heritage.
- Dr Kate Woodthorpe, Department of Social and Policy Sciences: Social aspects of death, dying and bereavement.
Loneliness in older age
Sam Carr talks about how older people experience loneliness based on in depth interviews carried out in retirement communities across the UK and in Australia.
If you would like more information about the work we are doing and how to get involved please get in touch.