The Open University

Ageing Well Public Talks 2023-24

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In the 'Ageing Well Public Talk series' we are exploring how important it is, over our lifespan, to maintain well-balanced nutrition and hydration as well as regular physical and social activity in older age, also known as the 'Five Pillars of Ageing Well'. Ageing demonstrates most significantly when we reach a certain age, the usual benchmark being 65+, but ageing starts much sooner and the way ageing demonstrates when we are over 65 depends on decisions we have been making over our life span.

The series and related materials such as ‘The Five Pillars of Ageing Well’ became the cornerstones of further engagement with the public, specifically around COVID-19 and the relating self-isolation, which are now available on the OU website and the Internet.

The overall aim of these series of interventions is to facilitate a step change in user behaviour and support service provision. Self-management and becoming partner in our own health care is an important aspect of these talks. This may have a wider impact in healthcare economies, as ageing and related co-morbidities have a substantial health and economic burden footprint.

I have been presenting the ‘Ageing Well’ Lecture Series in collaboration with Third Age University and Free Time University overseas and more recently with primary care practices in the UK. Currently also collaborating with Age UK MK, Public Health Northamptonshire, Carers MK, UKeMED & Cambridge Medical Academy, East of England Academic Health Science Network and the and Voluntary Health Scotland on delivering ‘Ageing Well Public Talks’.

All talks last between 60-90 min & you can click on the links below to find more about our presenters, or see the attached synopsis.


Talk 1 Are we ready to live longer? Jitka Vseteckova & Rachel Turner

13th September 2023 After introducing the Ageing Well Public Talk series by Jitka, we will explore ageing brain and how ca we support our brain with Maintenance Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. Maintenance Cognitive Stimulation Therapy is a programme of activities and discussion, aimed at general enhancement of cognitive and social functioning.

Talk 2  MENOPAUSE and changing attitudes to what people want from this stage of life. Dr Catherine Pestano & Lyndsey Simpson

18th October 2023 - In this talk we will discuss some most common age-related conditions such as osteoporosis and frailty and explore with Catherine menopause, andropause and how hormonal changes associate with ageing may affect us? Lyndsey will also be exploring why is it important to tackle ageism and how we might need to go about that. We will also look at the changing attitudes to what people want from this stage of life/retirement.

Talk 3 Taking Control of Dying Barbara Gale* and Victoria Hedges. Dr Barbara Gale, MBE & Dr Victoria Hedges 

22nd November 2023 In this talk the speakers will present on what are the things we don’t talk about & preparing for our death and as a relative preparing for someone else’s death. We will also talk about ways we can take some of the control over our dying and what are the ways we can co-create our care plans.

Talk 4 Learning to the top and enjoying every minute. lnma Alvarez 

13th December 2023 In this talk Inma will explain what drives some people to embark on the ultimate study challenge - doing a doctorate late in life. She will provide information about how mature students manage the development of their research skills during an extended period of time, and what aspects contribute to their successful completion of a doctoral degree. 

Talk 5 Memory and spending time outdoors. Ellie Broad & Jitka Vseteckova 

24th January 2024 In this talk Ellie and Jitka will discuss about memory and how we can preserve our memory while staying outdoors. Alison 

Talk 6 Anything but being sedentary. Dr Declan Ryan

21st February 2024 - this talk Declan will explore ways we can exercise as we age even if our life become sedentary for example if we are a wheelchair user. He will be discussing how sitting doesn’t mean we have to be sedentary.

Talk 7 Life thriving, not just surviving. Marina Postlewaite-Bowler and Lynne Watson  

13th March 2024  In this talk we focus on wellbeing, and how proactive life approaches which embrace positive wellbeing can enhance our lives. Ageing doesn’t have to happen the way Western society tells us it has to. Marina explores some ideas and strategies based on Ayurvedic thinking and introduces Kaya Kalpa a clinical discipline from the East that concerns itself with the physiological rejuvenation of the body.   

Lynne will share encouragement and creative ideas that can realistically help improve the quality of daily life. Lynne ’s research interests include hobbies and interests such as nature, crafts and activities which enable people to overcome the triggers which can create poor emotional and mental wellbeing and to use these glimmers to return to a place of emotional wellbeing.     

Talk 8 Ways to eat well and stay well. Dr Sinead Eccles 

17th April 2024 - In this talk Sinead will introduce a new way of improving your individual eating behaviour that will nourish your body to feel and perform at your best.  She will provide direction and guidance on how to apply the concept of ‘Intuitive eating’ and other ways that will develop a deeper connection with your own internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.

Talk 9 Making friends in blue and green spaces. Dr Yoseph Araya and Dr Gráinne O’Connor

22nd May 2024 - In this talk Yoseph will explore how Ecosystems provide us with various services, from the well-publicised provision and regulation of resources to the social and well-being benefits of ecosystem services as humans engage with nature. Gráinne will then focus on the benefits and challenges of keeping companion animals (pets) as we age. Keeping a pet has been shown to improve our heart health, reduce depression and help us make friends. What are the emotional, practical, and financial implications of pet ownership as we age and how can we enjoy the benefits of our companion animals for longer.

Talk 10 Culture in language learning for older adults. Dr Natalia Balyasnikova 

19th June 2024 In this talk, Natalia will explore the role of culture in language learning for older adults, highlighting the power of storytelling in recognizing older learners' agency in promoting their well-being. Drawing on her expertise in community-based language learning Natalia will delve into how social stimulation in language classrooms can support healthy ageing and how embracing culture and community, along with social engagement, can help older adults thrive. 

Talk 11 We need to dispel the rhetoric in delivering inclusive health services for ethnic minority older people. Rohini Sharma Joshi 

10th July 2024  Why do ethnic minority older people continue to face barriers in accessing health services, despite the evidence from numerous research reports, as well as the recent disproportionately negative impact of COVID 19 pandemic? It must be acknowledged that providing inclusive services requires action from the lessons learned, not ongoing discussions.


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Research Group

  • CABS Research Group
  • Open Thanatology
  • Carers Research Group
  • Participatory Research Group


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