To find out how these different forms of involvement featured in AGE-WELL projects, we (the OA-INVOLVE team) conducted a survey of projects, support and governance structures. We are now able and excited to share with you some of the findings. Of the 39 projects, crosscutting themes, and governance structures involved in the survey (100% response!!), 36 either engaged or planned to engage older people. However, the majority of these were in the most basic participant category with relatively few projects treating older people as advisors and even less as co-producers. Seven projects indicated they were or would involve older people in all three roles.
Maybe more impressive is the number of older people involved in AGE-WELL projects at the time of the survey (April-August 2016): 2086 in total. Of these, 82% were as participants, 11% as advisors and only 7% as co-producers. At the time of the survey, only 4 projects were following the co-producer model and a further 7 projects were planning to do this in the future. We have now produced a report of the survey results, which can be accessed through 'OUR RESEARCH'.
To measure the growth of older people's involvement in AGE-WELL, we are now launching the next survey. Hopefully, we will see not just a growth in the numbers of older people involved, but also see an expansion of older people involved across the life of the projects and in more active and decision making roles. Once we have this information, we can then evaluate how the more active involvement of older people impacts on successful commercialized AGE-WELL products, be they technologies, services or policies.
Please help us document the evolution of older adult involvement in the AGE-WELL network. Watch this space for the results of the next survey!
Authors: Judith Sixsmith and Susan Kirkland, Co-Leads OA-INVOLVE