We are focusing on three different contexts in which older people can be actively involved in decision making:
1. Living options
How can older people be involved in determining the range of options available, and how might they be involved in decisions about day-to-day living where they live? This encompasses residential care, but also includes other types of housing options – what would they look like, how could older people explore with confidence what the options are? We are exploring how individual older people might be enabled to have their say about their personal preferences, and, collectively, how older people can be involved in planning, design and development.
2. Support planning and assessment
How can older people be supported in making decisions in what are often difficult situations, where the decisions are ones they would prefer not to make? How can we develop the psychological and social concepts and tools to facilitate participative discussion, recognising the need to understand the contexts in which decisions are being made and the importance of personal networks and relationships?
3. Carers / caring relationships
How can both older people and those who care for them be involved in decision-making, and how might workers support this? Good caring relationships are important for older people's wellbeing and we know that many older people are either/both ambivalent about receiving care and/or find it difficult to ask for and receive care. In the case of many older people who live with partners, it can be difficult to distinguish people as care givers or care receivers. We are exploring the need for attentiveness to the particularities of caring relationships in order to support appropriate involvement of care givers and care receivers.