Article

University brings new life to ageing process

24 May 2019
Christina McKelvie MSP

Scotland’s Minister for Older People described Scotland's ageing workforce as an asset and not an expense at the opening of the inaugural EngAGE conference at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Christina McKelvie MSP urged around 200 delegates from business, public bodies and the third sector to work together to make this the best country to grow old in.

The University provided the backdrop and much of the expertise behind the bold vision of an age-friendly nation presented at the Conference, which described itself as Scotland’s first Festival of Ageing.

“Today presents a rare opportunity for academics, policy makers and service providers to engage in a positive debate to shape a better future for Scotland,” University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, told the audience. “We are fully behind a rights-based approach to addressing the issues facing our elderly population. This University’s commitment to the Common Good means we are already aligning our research and social innovation to ensure our older population are empowered and continue to make a positive contribution to our society.”

The EngAGE event was conceived by GenAnalytics and The Herald in association with the Scottish Government, and sponsored by the University and technology firm NTT Data UK.

Director of GenAnalytics, Professor Lesley Sawers, said: “This is about changing the narrative on ageing – looking at the longevity dividend and asking ourselves what we need to do to have a hundred year life, which many people born today will do. This event has been so uplifting and exciting, the energy and the buzz we have created has been inspiring. We hope the Conference has started something which is going to grow and we can spread this right across Scotland.”

The Conference presentations and panel discussions were accompanied by a busy public exhibition in the foyer of the Hamish Wood building, attended by several University exhibitors demonstrating their own research and social innovations. Professor Lorna Paul took the opportunity to promote Giraffe Healthcare, a social enterprise she has created to deliver an online physiotherapy platform.

She said: “The event took the disparate topics around ageing and linked them together under five different themes. Delegates have been saying it felt more coherent than they’d expected and they’re already thinking differently as a result. For us, we’ve had great feedback during the event, it’s already generated significant exposure on social media and we have several leads to follow up so I’d say it’s been a success.”