New interdisciplinary research network on the elderly and ageing

At Jönköping University, a new network called GeroNet (Gerontology Network) was launched in autumn 2023. The aim of GeroNet is to disseminate and discuss research conducted in the field of the elderly and ageing across all schools at Jönköping University (JU), as well as to initiate new collaborative research projects.

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The ageing process is multidimensional, and encompasses biological and medical aspects as well as social, psychological, economic, and technological factors, to name a few. Therefore, interdisciplinary research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and consequences.

"By establishing a multidisciplinary research network in the field of the elderly and ageing, we hope to create a university-wide platform for these issues at Jönköping University. The network thus includes researchers and teachers with an interest in elderly and ageing issues from all four schools at Jönköping University," says Charlotta Nilsen, Assistant Professor in Gerontology at the School of Health and Welfare.

The First Network Meeting

The inaugural network meeting has already taken place, where researchers from various disciplines presented both ongoing and completed research projects, highlighting the multidisciplinary nature of the subject.

Johannes Hagen, Associate Professor in Economics at Jönköping International Business School, discussed the concept of "jobbonärer" – individuals who combine retirement with work – and the new Pension Tracking System (PTS) developed by the researchers.

After that, there was a presentation of a previous design project at the School of Engineering. This was led by Lars Eriksson, Professor of Industrial Design. Among other things, a specially designed armchair aimed at aiding elderly individuals with reduced mobility in getting up was showcased.

Urban Planning for the Elderly in a Warmer Climate

Susanne Gustafsson, Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy at the School of Health and Welfare, presented the HEAT project. It is an interdisciplinary project focusing on urban planning considerations for the elderly today, and in a future warmer climate.

Finally, Joel Hedegaard, Assistant Professor of Education at the School of Education and Communication, discussed the phenomenon of Men's Sheds, where elderly men gather to engage in activities together.

The initiative for GeroNet was taken by the Institute of Gerontology (IFG) at the School of Health and Welfare, which conducts several research projects focusing on the elderly and ageing, and has been offering a Master's program in gerontology since 2002.