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Ageing and later life

Everyone is ageing from the moment they are born, and most of us will be old one day. But individuals experience ageing very differently and the cultural, economic, social and environmental circumstances in which people age are changing rapidly. Researchers in the Health, Wellbeing and Social Care examine the meanings and experiences of ageing across the life course.

Our work is at the forefront of gerontology in the UK and internationally but also contributes to research across the life course in sociology, psychology, history, geography, social policy, social work and nursing. We have particular expertise in participative and biographical forms of research, co-ordinated by the Centre for Ageing and Biographical Studies (CABS).

Current and recent projects include:

  • Exploring the needs and aspirations of visually impaired older people – Thomas Pocklington Trust (pdf)
  • OPT-IN – older people’s use of new technologies
  • Transitions in Kitchen Living – the role, function and design of kitchens within the lives of people aged over 60
  • Older people with high support needs
Elderly man holding a baby


Dr Rebecca Jones talks about research in ageing and later life

Potential research projects

We're actively looking for more postgraduate students to join us. For further information on potential research projects, supervisors and applying to study please see our Ageing and later life page within the Open University Research Degrees Prospectus.


Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.

Robert Southey, The Doctor

Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.

Caryn Leschen

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.

Robert Southey, The Doctor

Grow old with me! The best is yet to come.

Robert Browning

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.

Victor Hugo