As the Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, a Professor in Primary Care in Ageing and with a research focus on dementia care, Professor Louise Robinson is at the heart of impactful work in older person care. She shares with us some of the key activities ongoing in Newcastle University’s ageing work.
Research into all aspects of ageing and older person care has never been more important. As a society we are living longer and as a result, services are feeling greater pressure to support the growing population of over 65s.
The fact we are living longer is fantastic, but we must also do more to ensure that these extra years are spent in better health and wellbeing – not only for the individuals, but for the greater good of our healthcare services. This core belief is what underpins the work we do at Newcastle University Institute for Ageing and I want to share a few recent activities and developments.
1. The birth of a National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation
We’re incredibly proud to be the birth place for a national centre dedicated to the meeting of minds for businesses, academics, healthcare professionals and the public. The announcement came after a successful Newcastle University bid, and since the announcement by The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne in his autumn statement on 3 December 2014, plans have begun to take shape to turn this into a reality. NASI will help businesses develop products and services aimed at supporting older people and meeting the needs of the older consumer; with the aim if allowing older people to live more independently.
2. Increased research funding for dementia studies
We have recently been awarded a funding boost for dementia researchers at Newcastle University. The funding is specific to Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB); a strand of dementia that we have a particular expertise in at Newcastle University. While it affects more than 100,000 people in the UK, it is lesser known that other forms of dementia and with this funding boost, we hope to increase our understanding and therefore go further to supporting patients and families living with DLB.
3. Recognition for the work we do in ageing
We have recently been awarded a Reguis Professorship in Ageing by the Queen as part of her 90th birthday celebrations, in recognition for our work in this area. This award is significant in that it is a great honour bestowed to only a few UK Universities.
Our research was also recently featured in a BBC week-long series on ageing. Myself and colleagues working in biomedical and social areas of ageing science were interviewed for a segment that ran daily for a week and highlighted the principal issues faced by our ageing population today.