Social research and co-production with older people: Developing age-friendly communities

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The aging of the population, together with the need for more inclusive and responsive policies and services, has contributed to a burgeoning interest in co-production and co-research with older people. To date, however, only a limited number of studies have addressed how the participation of older persons as research partners can be practically realized in community-based research. The purpose of this article is to provide insights into the process of co-producing a research project with older residents living in low-income neighborhoods in Manchester, United Kingdom. The project was unique in involving and training eighteen older people as co-researchers who took a leading role in all phases of a study aimed at developing “age-friendly” communities. The co-researchers also completed 68 interviews with residents aged 60 and over who were experiencing social isolation within their neighborhood. This paper describes the methodological approach developed for the study together with a description of the recruitment and training of co-researchers. It then presents findings based upon four reflection meetings with the co-researchers, focusing on their motivations for working on the project and their relationship with the interviewees. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for developing co-production work with older people in age-friendly research, policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Early online date20 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Co-production; Age-friendly communities; Co-research with older people; User engagement; Participatory research; Empowerment

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities


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