On May 30th, Dr. Lucia Carragher, Dr. Julie Doyle and Joanne Finnegan from the NetwellCASALA research centre in DkIT travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to visit a number of ageing research projects and to form relationships and collaborations with ageing researchers in Brazil. The visit was supported by SFI under the Research Brazil Ireland initiative, which aims to promote Ireland’s scientific and technological reputation in Brazil and to highlight Ireland’s attractiveness as an international research partner.
Prior to the visit, NetwellCASALA, alongside researchers in DCU, DIT and NUIG formed a working group with researchers from the International Longevity Centre (ILC) in Rio de Janeiro, with the aim of exploring common themes of interest centering on age friendly technologies. The ILC hosted the DkIT visit to Rio and organized a number of meetings and site visits over a 5-day period. The first visit was to an outdoor exercise park for older adults, where a dedicated physical trainer and nurse are on-site to ensure people are exercising safely and having their vitals, such as their blood pressure, monitored regularly. There are numerous such parks dotted around the city, supported by the local authority, and are very well attended by large numbers of older adults daily. Another visit was to a day centre where older adults can take part in a number of activities, including tai chi, yoga, drama and learning English. The NetwellCASALA team met with a number of the older adults in these groups as well as the staff who maintain the service.
Lucia, Julie and Joanne took part in a seminar with Brazilian researchers to present NetwellCASALA’s ageing research and to learn more about Brazilian research in this area. Various meetings were also held with the Centre for Ageing Study and Research, the Centre for Art and Design at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio and the State University of Rio which hosts the University of the Third Age. For the past 20 years, the University of the Third Age has offered over 150 courses to older adults and NetwellCASALA staff had the opportunity to visit some classes where large numbers of older adults are in attendance. There are in total 3,000 older adults currently registered with the University, and it has a very intergenerational feel with both younger and older people walking around the university, attending classes etc. There is also an onsite medical centre, where older adults can have their wellbeing monitored if necessary.
Following from the many visits with Brazilian research institutes and local authorities, NetwellCASALA will seek funding opportunities to support strengthening the working group and collaborations formed, as well as to work on collaborative projects in the area of age-friendly technologies to support wellbeing.