Our research falls under four overarching strategic themes

Participation, Social and Supportive Relationships

Exploring how our community is a crucial factor in the development of the relationships we hold with those around us, as well as the driving factor in how we form and shape our cultural conventions, along with our values and beliefs.

The Centre for Innovative Ageing has unique data and research expertise concerning the transnational relationships, social networks, inter- and intra-generational relationship of older migrants in the UK. The centre is seen as a global leader in social gerontology within this theme. Topics under this theme include:

  • Social support networks
  • Transnational relationships
  • Community cohesion/conflict
  • Social contagion within communities of practice and place
  • Health literacy within support networks
  • Changing dynamics of networks and families
  • Differences between ethnicity/culture in family and networks structures

Environments of Ageing

Investigating how older people interact with their environment to combat the traditional view that we are strongly influenced by our surroundings, and move society to a place where older people actively engage with their environment leading to improvements in quality of life, health and well-being.

This theme addresses person-environment interactions as people age. Traditionally the ageing individual was seen as being strongly influenced by the environment within which they lived, worked and interacted, encapsulated approaches such as ‘environmental press’ or ‘person–environment reactivity’. Research and theory now suggests older people are more actively engaged with their environment with roots in environmental psychology, and is often referred to as ‘environmental gerontology’ or the ‘ecology of ageing’. 

Environments of ageing is multi-disciplinary in nature, utilising theoretical perspectives from psychology, sociology, architecture, human geography, urban studies, planning and occupational therapy. It is often inter-disciplinary and looks at the interactions between engineering, technology, ICT and society and draws upon socio-technical, human-computer interaction and user-centred design theory within an ageing context. The CIA covers a wider range of topics under this theme including:- 

  • Housing and supported living environments
  • Social inclusion and connectivity
  • Transport, travel, road user safety
  • Attitudes towards technology, acceptability of technology, digital inclusion, acceptability of policy and interventions
  • Ageing-in-place, place attachment, migration, rural-urban contexts
  • Urban design and built environment
  • Globalisation
  • Falls

Work, retirement and ageism

Improving labour market outcomes for older workers, complementing the priorities of the UK government’s ‘fuller working lives’ agenda and builds upon the global drive, spearheaded by the WHO, to combat ageism.  

This theme links to the Ageing Well in Wales commitment to improving labour market outcomes for older workers. It also links to the UK government ‘fuller working lives’ agenda including:

  • The working environment, including ageing well in work, age diversity in the workplace, precarious working and the gig economy
  • Age management policies and HR/organisational practices
  • Perceptions of ageing, ageism and age discrimination 
  • Retirement planning, retirement adjustment, working beyond retirement and un-retirement
  • Working with a disability/chronic illness

In addition to the world-leading research of the CIA, the centre is engaged with the development of networks in Wales, the wider UK and globally. This allows for the impact of the research conducted in the centre to be far reaching and positively affect the lives of older adults beyond the traditional scope of an academic research centre.  

Brain function and behaviour in ageing, cognitive impairment and dementia

We investigate the integrity of a wide range of brain functions across the lifespan and in relation to Vascular Cognitive Impairment, Subjective & Mild Cognitive Impairment, Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

To do this we employ many different methodological approaches and technologies including:

  • neurocognitive testing
  • neuropsychology
  • neuroimaging (MRI)
  • near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS)
  • electroencephalography (EEG)
  • transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  • computer-based psychophysics
  • qualitative techniques such as focus groups

The outcome of this research helps us to understand the underlying basis for change in some behaviours that occur in ageing and in conditions such as vascular cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Such information can then be used to improve one’s understanding of ageing and diseases processes and their signs and symptoms. Such knowledge can also be used to inform strategies related to ageing well and living well with dementia and the design of better environments.

This is a varied and multi-disciplinary research area. The work we do includes the following:

  • Vision, eye movements and pupillometry
  • Visual mismatch negativity (automatic change detection/attentional capture)
  • Attention and distractibility
  • Hearing
  • Information processing speed and how variable this is
  • Cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, anxiety
  • Evidence-based healthcare
  • The development of new methodologies (e.g. using mobile technology for research)
  • Falls & mobility and motion processing
  • COVID-19 and the possibility of associated cognitive changes
  • Dementia Platform UK
  • Dementia friendly toilets

If you would like more information about any aspect of our work, please contact Prof. Andrea Tales.

In addition to the world-leading research of the CIA, the centre is engaged with the wider UK and globally. This allows for the impact of the research conducted in the centre to be far reaching and positively affect the lives of older adults beyond the traditional scope of an academic research centre.