Inspiring Stories, Discoveries, Challenges and Frustrations: One-Day Knowledge Exchange for Researchers on Ageing

by Dr Chris Perkins (Selwyn Centre for Ageing & Spirituality)

head-607480_1280The Hope Selwyn One Day Knowledge Exchange was held in Auckland on 4th September 2015 and sponsored by the Hope Foundation and The Selwyn Foundation. This was an opportunity for gerontology researchers, some experienced and some beginners, to present their work and interact with other researchers about their ideas. There was a wide range of topics covered, ranging from the state of the streets in Sri Lanka (i.e. difficult to navigate if you are disabled), through older immigrants’ contributions to the New Zealand community (such as teaching knitting), evaluation of the usefulness of a gerontology nurse specialist in General Practice (very useful), and the trauma of losing your driving license. We heard some more about the LiLACS NZ study (Te Puāwaitanga O Ngā Tapuwae Kia Ora Tonu, Life and Living in Advanced Age: a Cohort Study in New Zealand) and some reports on the difficulties and frustrations of getting research funded.

Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell introduced us to Maori Digital Stories of whānau caregiving at end of life. These stories are very worthwhile to support professionals and all those caring for others close to the end of life.

Dr Hilary Lapsley’s talk Re-specialising in Ageing Research, a Retirement Journey, was inspiring for those of us who are at that stage. She described how to use your NZ Superannuation as a research grant! At the other end of life, beginning researchers presented work that had been funded by the HOPE foundation.

Each talk lasted only 10 minutes, but the presenters stuck to time and packed in a lot of information. That meant 18 presentations in the day, as well as time for eating and networking. This was a quick but fascinating tour of current research in ageing and some of the challenges of doing this research.

Abstracts from all the presenters are available on the NZ Association of Gerontology Association website.