MICRA welcomes visitor Professor Julie Byles

4 April 2018

Professor Byles will be visiting MICRA from 18–20 April.

Professor Byles is Global Innovation Chair in Responsive Transitions in Health and Ageing, Co-Director Public Health Program at Hunter Medical Research Institute, Director at Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing, Director of Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health and is based at the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

As a clinical epidemiologist, Professor Byles’ interests are in risk determination, health assessment, health care use, measurement of health outcomes, and other health care evaluation. As a gerontologist and Fellow and Life Member of the Australian Association of Gerontology, her research interests in ageing include the role of health services, preventive activities, and treatments in maintaining quality of life for older people. Professor Byles is also Head of the International Longevity Centre - Australia (ILC-Aus), Chair of the International Association of Gerontology (Asia Oceania) Social Research and Planning sub-committee, and a frequent advisor to the World Health Western Pacific Region, and Department of Ageing and Lifecourse (Geneva), assisting with translation of evidence on health and ageing.

We are delighted to welcome Professor Byles for a short visit to Manchester and to MICRA! Her overall goals for this visit to the UK are to visit with some of her collaborators in Manchester, Newcastle, and London (ILC-UK).  The visit comes at a particularly interesting time in relation to some of the collaborative research she has already started, and some new projects she is starting on healthy ageing trajectories and health care in later life.

Professor Byles work includes The Housing and Independent Living Study (HAIL). HAIL was a collaborative study undertaken by The University of Newcastle, The University of Sydney and the Sax Institute; and funded by Ageing Disability and Home Care, New South Wales (NSW) Family and Community Services.  This Study assessed the home and neighbourhood environments of 202 community-dwelling older men and women aged 75-79 years, to determine the extent to which home and neighbourhood environments can be considered to be “supportive” of older peoples’ current and expected needs. Participants completed a survey, an interview, and objective assessment of their functional capacity, and their homes were assessed against design standards.  Qualitative interviews explored how occupants viewed their homes, and how they planned to adapt/modify either their activities or homes to accommodate changing needs as they aged. HAIL findings highlight that many older people wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible, however, many homes failed to meet objective safety and accessibility measures and so may not be supportive of people’s needs as they age.

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