The TILDA-GAA Partnership
With increased life expectancy there is substantial growth in the number of older people in Ireland. There is evidence that for many Irish citizens the additional years of life is spent living with significant disability and ill-health. This has an adverse impact on the person’s quality of life.
Prof Rose Anne Kenny
Health Research Board
The problem that was addressed…
With increased life expectancy there is substantial growth in the number of older people in Ireland. There is evidence that for many Irish citizens the additional years of life is spent living with significant disability and ill-health. This has an adverse impact on the person’s quality of life. Furthermore the whole of society is impacted through increased healthcare requirements and care needs. An important step in addressing this issue is to provide evidence-based health education on how to prevent illness and disability as we age.
The Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (TILDA), has amassed a significant body of knowledge and evidence on how to age well. An annual lecture on the topic is delivered at Trinity College by Professor Kenny as part of Positive Ageing week. While this provides the opportunity for older people living in Dublin to hear these findings there are barriers to people outside of Dublin benefiting from important information shared at the talk. While TILDA was motivated to deliver the talk in venues around the country it was recognised to be a significant challenge.
What we did…
Given this challenge it was agreed to pursue a partnership with a national organisation that was already embedded in the community. The GAA was a regarded as the perfect partner for the endeavour. Through meetings between the TILDA operations manager the Community & Health Department of the GAA, the idea was discussed and, given its synergy with the aims of the GAA, the partnership was agreed on.
At the TILDA-GAA planning meetings it was decided that each County GAA Health and Wellbeing Committee would organise a “How to Age Well” community event for their county. Additionally, they would suggest well-known local GAA figures to become ambassadors for the project in their county and attend the event. The events would be heavily advertised through the local clubs and local media such as newspaper and radio. Much welcomed assistance was provided by media consultants Drury | PORTER NOVELLI through Irish Life.
It was agreed to commence the project with four counties – Longford, Limerick, Mayo and Cork. The project was officially launched in Croke Park on the 20th February 2019. In attendance were Irish Life, one of the funders of TILDA and the GAA Community & Health Department, the President of the GAA, John Horan, Professor Kenny and the GAA ambassadors for the four counties. Following the launch in Croke Park the Trinity Foundation hosted a lunch in the 1592 restaurant for the ambassadors and introduced them to Trinity College GAA Players from football, hurling and camogie. To conclude the launch day the GAA ambassadors visited the TILDA Health Assessment unit for demonstrations on the assessment process.