New association looks at enhancing quality of life for an ageing society

A unique new association for professionals working with older people in Wales has been launched – with the involvement of staff at University

Val Thomas, of the School of Health Science, and Professor Judith Phillips, of the Department of Applied Social Sciences, are both members of the steering group of the Practitioner Network on Ageing (PNOA), an independent, not-for-profit association, created and based in Wales.

The PNOA is made up of representatives from public health, local government, various voluntary, housing and care organizations, private sector groups, education and research and older people’s organizations. The Open University in Cardiff currently hosts the association.

The PNOA aims to address any issues relevant to older people, not just health and social care, and to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for information, networking and good practice examples.

Val Thomas said: “Wales has the oldest population in the UK with 17 per cent of people aged over 65. Organizations such as the PNOA are useful in planning ahead for an ageing society. We aim to provide a way of identifying and discussing issues that are relevant to older people and look at how quality of life can be enhanced.”

“We are very keen to work with individuals and older people’s organizations to promote a positive image of ageing and to share expertise in the care and support of older people in all environments.”

Mrs Thomas emphasized that the association will also provide another information resource for practitioners in Wales and beyond.

PNOA is complimentary to other initiatives which are being led by University researchers such as the Older People and Ageing Research and Development Network (OPAN Cymru), a major Assembly Government-funded network to strengthen research and collaboration in issues relating to older people.

OPAN Cymru is headed by Professor Judith Phillips, and Dr Susan Lambert, from the School of Health Science. The team is made up of researchers from a range of disciplines from , Cardiff and Bangor Universities, together with representatives from the NHS, local authority social services, the voluntary and independent sectors and older people themselves.

“One of OPAN Cymru’s strengths is the involvement of older people themselves, and this approach is also taken by the PNOA,” said Mrs Thomas.

The PNOA was officially launched in March by BBC Wales broadcaster Roy Noble OBE. A website has been set up which will be the focus for information for all members. It will be a useful resource for older people, their relatives and friends.

For further information about PNOA please contact Val Thomas at v.thomas, Lorraine Morgan at j.l.morgan, or visit

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