Professor Thomas Mitchell gives Inaugural Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing Lecture
Posted on: 31 May 2011
Former Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Professor Thomas Mitchell, gave the inaugural lecture of Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing titled ‘Ageing and Life of the Mind’ on May 9th last.
Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing provides an innovative model of health care delivery to older people, uniting hospital based physicians and services as well as primary care practitioners. There are four pillars within the Institute: Clinical, Research and Development, Training and Education and Creative Life, all working individually and collaboratively to provide the best health care and continuous living possible for the older person. Based in St James’s Hospital, the Institute is headed by Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Principal Investigator of TILDA and Professor of Medical Gerontology at Trinity College Dublin.
Professor Mitchell’s lecture focused on how the lives of older people can continue to be meaningful and fulfilling and the need to create an age-friendly society that appreciates the needs and the value to society of older people, and that this promotes an environment in which senior citizens can continue to develop, to be engaged, to be productive.
Dr John Kennedy, Chairperson of St. James’s Hospital Medical Board, Consultant Medical Oncologist, St. James’s Hospital; Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Head of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin, and Director of Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing, St James’s Hospital; Professor Thomas N. Mitchell; Professor Davis Coakley, Professor of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin; Professor J. Bernard Walsh, Consultant Physician and Clinical Professor, St. James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin; Dr Joe Harbison – Senior Lecturer, Department of Medical Gerontology.
According to projections, over the next 30 years the Irish population over 65 years of age will increase from under half a million to between 1.3 and 1.4 million, from the current 11% to as much as 25%. Therefore, about one in four of the population will be over 65 by 2040. The numbers over 80 years of age are set to increase even faster, and are likely to quadruple over the next generation, from about 110,000 to 440,000. (Ageing in Ireland, Central Statistics Office (CSO), 2007)
In his lecture, Professor Mitchell presented his own ideas about an age-friendly society and said that he had four hopes related to the topic which included: that the groundbreaking work in geriatric medicine, research and education that is going on in St. James’s, Mercer’s Institute, and TILDA at Trinity College Dublin will be supported and replicated, and will ensure superior medical care in this country for the elderly; That Ireland’s educational policies and services will expand opportunities for older people to extend their intellectual horizons; That the great experience and intellectual resource represented by our older generation can be utilised for the public good; And finally he hoped that in the coming years Ireland would form a national association of senior citizens and become a more age-friendly society.