By funding research in ‘Rehabilitation for the Elderly’, VELUX FONDEN aims to improve quality of life for senior citizens in Denmark.
Since 2015, user involvement has been focal for VELUX FONDEN’s grants to ensure that infirm elderly people and their relatives bring valued insights to clinical research.
It is rarely a good idea to generalise about a given group in the population, and senior citizens are just as different individually as any other age-group in Denmark. They know best which problems pose challenges in daily living. Are they healthy, active and able-bodied, or physically impaired or perhaps wheelchair users? Can family and relatives help, or is the elderly person dependent on round-the-clock professional care? How does this affect their quality of life, and what does a good life entail in later life?
Important insights to benefit many elderly people
“Research and practice-based evidence concerning rehabilitation and quality of life for elderly persons has been accorded special status among VELUX FONDEN's grants,” says Ane Hendriksen, Executive Director of VELUX FONDEN. VELUX FONDEN, in partnership with Professor Mogens Hørder, MD, of the University of Southern Denmark, established this as a research area in Denmark, and launched the first five PhDs and a professorship, together with an annual 'PhD school' with a programme on rehabilitation. Mogens Hørder explains:
These are incurable and disabling diseases that change the circumstances of each individual afflicted; and that also require treatment and represent a burden for relatives and society, which has to train staff and coordinate special modes of care.
In that VELUX FONDEN is concentrating on research in the early stage of the diseases, there is the potential to make discoveries that can delay their onset. This is essential, because we have no viable medical treatment options for curing these diseases.”
Patients and relatives must be involved
“Support for some of the best research centres is a way of advancing the science that will ultimately benefit local authorities and the health sector generally to a very great extent. Crucially, patients and relatives MUST be involved in that process.
At the same time, VELUX FONDEN's funding commitment gains a distinct profile. In that it attaches importance to comorbid conditions in older adults and to user involvement in studies, this is a strategy that can make a significant difference to Danish research,” says Mogens Hørder.
In the period 2015-2017, VELUX FONDEN has funded rehabilitation and user involvement, granting a total of DKK 14.8m to seven projects. This funding allocation will also be advertised in 2018 with a grant budget of DKK 6m.