25 Jul 2008

The Open University wants your views on The Price of Old Age

The UK’s elderly population is growing and the issues surrounding the cost and quality of care are becoming more widespread as people realise that they too are part of the ageing society.

The Open University is conducting an online survey to gauge public attitudes to care, health, accommodation and many other issues associated with ageing.

The aim of the survey is to investigate how much is understood about services available and how they are accessed. Whether a carer or being cared for, economic factors and forward planning are key determinants of what is available and at what cost. How best to make plans and where to seek advice and assistance are crucial to obtaining the best from the services.

Responses, which will come from a wide range of contributors will allow Open University researchers to map out the current “state-of-play” between perceptions and reality of life for older people in the UK.

Outcomes will contribute to the current government consultation exercise looking into public expectations and mapping these against costs and reality.

The survey can be found at or by clicking on the link on the right hand sidebar.

Sheila Peace, Professor of Gerontology with The Open University, who is leading the research said: "We are living at a time when we all need to address the big question over how as a nation we provide a life of quality for older people.

"Society will need to find new ways of caring for and supporting older people. Living arrangements will continue to change and the environment in which people grow older can be particularly important to how people feel about themselves.

"Different types of accommodation may provide solutions for particular groups of people but lifestyle changes need to be set within a wider discussion which the responses to the survey will help provide."

The survey will conclude in 2009 and the findings will then be made public but interim findings will be released to coincide with a forthcoming Open University/BBC documentary series about life in a retirement community in Milton Keynes.

More details will be released about the series later in the year.

Editor’s Notes

The documentary series is an Open University/BBC co- production for BBC ONE and will broadcast on BBC One in Autumn 2008.

Executive Editor for the BBC is Julian Mercer. Series Producer for the BBC is Lynn Barlow. Executive Producer for The Open University is Emma De’Ath. The Open University Academic Consultants are Professor Sheila Peace and Dr Caroline Holland. The Broadcast Learning Executive for The Open University is Anne Stevens.

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.

Related Courses and programmes from The Open University:-
- Y158 Understanding Health
- K101 An introduction to health and social care
- K202 Care, welfare and community
- K336 Exploring ageing
- K337 Maximizing older people’s potential
- K339 Promoting person-centred practice
- K203 Working for Health
- K260 Death and Dying
- K303 Managing Care
- K113 Foundations in Social Work Practice
- KZW113 Foundations in Social Work Practice (Wales)

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