The University of Brighton and Age UK Brighton & Hove have been collaborating on a programme of participatory research since 2007. Working with older people as co-researchers, the project has explored themes including experiences of wellbeing and what this means to older people.
Age UK Brighton and Hove and the University have been working with practitioners from statutory and voluntary services as well as with older people, to produce learning resources to increase awareness of the factors that contribute to wellbeing in later life, and to develop good practice in older people’s participation.
The learning resources drawn on collaborative research carried out with a team of older co-researchers. It was designed to enable older people to talk in their own terms about what well-being means to them. The resources are based on learning from working with older people and practitioners, to generate and apply knowledge for policy and practice.
The resources comprise a film and accompanying handbook, working with a professional production company to create scripted scenarios based in interviews. The films highlight key points identified and illustrate how social care workers might help people to think through some of the challenges faced as they grow older.
The films can be viewed here.
Focus of the work – three different contexts in which older people can be actively involved in decision making
- Living options: This encompasses residential care, but also includes other types of housing options – what would they look like, how could older people explore with confidence what the options are? This explores how individual older people might be enabled to have their say about their personal preferences and, collectively, how older people can be involved in planning, design and development
- Support planning and assessment: How can older people be supported in making decisions in what are often difficult situations, where the decisions are ones they would prefer not to make? How can we develop the psychological and social concepts and tools to facilitate participative discussion, recognising the need to understand the contexts in which decisions are being made and the importance of personal networks and relationships?
- Carers/caring relationships: Good caring relationships are important for older people's wellbeing and many older people are either/both ambivalent about receiving care and/or find it difficult to ask for and receive care. In the case of many older people who live with partners, it can be difficult to distinguish people as care givers or care receivers. We are exploring the need for attentiveness to the particularities of caring relationships in order to support appropriate involvement of care givers and care receivers.