Vision: to create a world in which older people flourish About Age NI Mission: to improve and enhance the lives of older people
What we do Age NI delivers distinctive high impact services that support independence, wellbeing and improve the quality of life of older people. Advice Services First Connect We provide confidential advice to 14,000 older people, their carers and families every year We provide expert services to over 1,200 older people every day First Connect offers emotional and practical support at difficult times to people in later life Policy Our policy team influences government to make Northern Ireland a better place to age We support older people’s networks and groups to increase their voice and grow participation in the sector Age Sector Support Products & Services We offer tailor-made products and services designed with the over 50s in mind.
Rural Policy Work Limited knowledge- No rural policy focus to date Strategic Policy Advisers Health and Social Care Poverty and Social Inclusion Citizenship Lack of rural policy focus challenged by Trustees, other stakeholders
Questions 1.Should Age NI have a rural focus in its policy work? 2.If yes, what issues should Age NI prioritise, based on research? 3.How should Age NI focus its rural policy work? 4.How can academic research better inform policy development?
Process Rural research Rural roundtable Continued engagement Recommendations paper
Age NI Research Research Questions - Is ageing in a rural area better or worse? What are there unique predictors of life satisfaction in rural areas? Methods- Quantitative analysis to pick up on any broader trends Sample – Wave 1 English sample of Understanding Society, longitudinal study based on a household panel design Over 9000 in sample; 7000 urban, 2000 rural Statistics- T-tests Broad differences in variables for physical health, income, range of deprivation measures, mental well-being, life satisfaction, contact with family Hierarchical regression- Life satisfaction models for urban and rural
Broad differences physical health, mental health, life satisfaction, income, perceptions neighbourhood belonging, contact with children etc all better for rural dwellers Difference negligible No convincing evidence for an urban and rural dichotomy found. BUT- Rural may not be a useful overarching category Heterogeneity of rural landscape Results
Regressions- what predicts life satisfaction? Controlled for ‘level of rurality’, year of move Predictors of life satisfaction almost identical in rural and urban environments Significant variables: neighbourhood belonging, sex, separated/ divorced, material deprivation, health Predicted 25% variance urban, 22% rural Self reports of health found to be the variable of greatest importance in both samples- around 18%
Limitations English sample Proxy measures eg family contact, health Only 22-25% variance explained
Broad urban rural distinctions are not helpful No convincing evidence that predictors of successful ageing are different in rural and urban environments Fuel poverty is an issue Literature older rural males at risk of disengagement Lack of research of farmers Conclusions
Questions Is rural aging unique? Does it matter? What do we need to focus on?
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