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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Guide to working with older people as co-researchers launched by MICRA

3 July 2015

A new guide to working with older people as co-researchers has been launched by MICRA at the British Society of Gerontology conference today.

Group of older people walking

Edited by Dr. Tine Buffel and produced in partnership with Age UK and Age-friendly Manchester (Manchester City Council), Researching Age Friendly Communities shares stories from older people as they step beyond the traditional role of consultee to that of interviewer and researcher.

Through partnerships with community organisations, a diverse group of 18 older residents were recruited and trained to become co-investigators in a study exploring the age-friendliness of three wards in the city of Manchester. The older co-researchers were involved in the planning, design, development and implementation of the Manchester Ageing study, including identifying research questions, recruiting and interviewing 68 older people who were experiencing varying degrees of poverty and social isolation, and analysing data.

‘Age UK warmly welcomes the publication of this latest guide documenting the success that comes from involving older people directly in research, this time relating to Age-Friendly neighbourhoods. We congratulate the University, the City of Manchester and the older communities of Manchester on making it possible’,  said Professor James Goodwin, Head of Research, Age UK.

The purpose of the Manchester Ageing Study is to examine opportunities and constraints for older people living in urban environments with a view to improving their experience of living in the city. It builds on policy priorities in the context of Manchester City Council being an active member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. Such cities are defined as encouraging ‘active ageing in order to enhance quality of life as people age’

The involvement of local residents in this study, as co-researchers, recognises the centrality of older people as active citizens in the Age-Friendly approach and gives a unique voice to many of the most excluded older people in central and south Manchester. Moreover, the findings of this work will play a direct role in the development of the city’s plans for the neighbourhoods in which the research has been conducted.” Paul McGarry, Strategic Lead, Age-Friendly Manchester.

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