29 June 2018

Millions for Research in the Health and Quality of Life of Senior Citizens


More Danes must maintain a high quality of life and vitality throughout life. This is the vision and starting point of the cross-disciplinary research conducted by the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen. The centre has just received funding DKK 78 million from Nordea-fonden. The research-based knowledge produced here will through collaboration with civil society and municipalities be translated into practice of benefit to senior citizens.

Photo: Colourbox

Meeting the new demands and needs of the ageing population requires new knowledge, new visions and changes of practice. Research into human ageing shows that our physical fitness is vital to our health and life expectancy. Both our biology, lifestyle and social conditions affect the ageing process.

Development of Guidelines

Nordea-fonden supports the work conducted at the Center for Healthy Aging with DKK 78 million over the next five years. The research programme consists of three tracks, and the new grant enables the centre to further develop important research results, for example concerning cognitive disability and how we can protect the brain. In the future, the centre will, among other things, study how physical activity affects the brain and, together with municipalities and health professionals, develop a set of guidelines for initiatives and measures intended to help more senior citizens live a healthy, active life and continue to have the strength to form new social relations. The focuses of the centre over the next five years will contribute to research into human ageing at both cell, individual and societal levels.

From the Faculty of Social Sciences researchers from psychology, economy, sociology and anthropology take part in the research conducted at Center for Healthy Aging, and Dean Troels Østergaard Sørensen is very pleased about the great potential of this generous donation from Nordea-fonden:

- Society needs both new knowledge and a change of praxis in a number of areas in order to meet the demands from an ageing population. Both biology, lifestyle, societal and social relations affect the way we age, and research in the cross field of health and social sciences is essential in creating the knowledge that makes us able to design new initiatives that can give better lives to aging people, says Troels Østergaard Sørensen.

Easy Transition from Work to Retirement

The cross-disciplinary research conducted at the Center for Healthy Aging has previously focussed on how many people find the transition from an active working life to retirement a challenge, but can also be seen as an opportunity to establish new, healthier habits.

From 2019 to 2023, the researchers will look more closely at how the transition to retirement can become more flexible and a positive experience for more senior citizens – an active everyday life with physical exercise, voluntary work and other new activities. In close cooperation with municipalities and pension funds, the researchers will develop and test models for more flexible retirement from the labour market and easier transitions to life as a pensioner.

- Since 2009 the Center for Healthy Aging has created a series of ambitious research programmes that have contributed with new knowledge on the ageing processes and on how more people can maintain healthy and active lifestyles with a high quality of life throughout life. They have also contributed to the training of researchers and other professionals based on a cross-disciplinary approach to human ageing. The aim is to benefit both citizens and society, says Dean Ulla Wewer, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen.

Solid Platform Linking Science and Society

Over the past 10 years the Center for Healthy Aging has attracted international attention through a series of significant research results. The centre has also managed to establish strong partnerships within the health sector at both municipal and national levels. In order to increase knowledge sharing and ensure solid implementation of new knowledge the centre will seek to further strengthen its collaboration with interest organisations, municipalities, patients’ associations etc. The goal is to ensure that research-based knowledge is translated into initiatives of benefit to citizens and thus to society as fast as possible.

- Society’s demographic development with many more senior citizens in the future stresses the importance of this effort. Both for the individual citizen and for society as a whole. Therefore, we are happy to be able to help ensure that the centre continues to provide new knowledge and, together with other social actors, translate this knowledge into new activities and initiatives. We hope to contribute to giving the Danes more good years without disease and increased quality of life, says Director of Nordea-fonden Henrik Lehmann Andersen.