Researchers win international award for study on supporting care home residents

A study led by researchers at the University of Manchester has been selected by the Mather Institute as the Gold Award recipient of their 2022 Innovative Research on Aging Awards.

Now in their 7th year, the awards were created by Mather Institute to inspire evidence-based next practices that can improve the lives of older adults.

As an internationally recognized resource for research and information about wellness, aging, and trends in senior living, Mather Institute invited submissions by researchers from universities and organizations around the world for this year’s awards, which cover a variety of categories from Aging in Place to Technological Advancements for Older Adults, and beyond. The University of Manchester research was honoured in the award category of ‘Health and Well-Being of Senior Living Residents’ based on an innovative 2021 study on the importance of purpose in life to people living in long-term care facilities.

The study authors, Dr Rebecca Owen, Dr Laura Brown, and Professor Katherine Berry, from the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester, interviewed residents from four care homes about their views and experiences about:

  • What purpose in life means to them.
  • What helps give them a sense of purpose.
  • The extent to which they would like to engage in more purposeful activities.
  • How long-term care providers could help or hinder this.


We are delighted that our research has been recognised by the Mather Institute in this way

Dr Laura Brown

They then analysed the interviews for common themes that revealed opportunities for senior living providers to support residents to maintain a sense of purpose in their facilities.

“The Innovative Research on Aging Award honours the study authors for providing insights into the importance that long-term care residents place on purpose in life, how purpose in life can be promoted through resident programs, and the barriers and facilitators to engagement that residents face,” said Cate O’Brien, PhD, VP and Director of Mather Institute. “These awards honour excellent applied research with practical implications for the senior living industry. We hope these award-winning studies will spark ideas in senior living organizations across the country and around the world.”

“We are delighted that our research has been recognised by the Mather Institute in this way”, said study author Dr Laura Brown. “Our findings clearly show how important it is to many care home residents to maintain a sense of purpose, and provide valuable insights into how care home staff can support this. We hope that this award enables long-term care facilities around the world to benefit from these findings in order to help their residents to age well.”  

A full complimentary report on the Innovative Research on Aging Award recipients, Revealing Research 2022, is available for download at matherinstitute.com. The full version of the original research (Owen et al., 2021), published in the journal ‘Aging and Mental Health’, can be found here

Founded in 1941, Mather is a nondenominational not-for-profit organization based in Evanston, Illinois, that creates Ways to Age Well.SM Mather Institute is its research area of service, and serves as an award-winning resource for research and information about wellness, aging, trends in senior living, and successful aging service innovations. To learn more, find your way to mather.com.

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