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What we did

Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) worked towards a healthy future for our ageing society. As the birth rate falls and lifespans extend, the demographic shift that will follow will create opportunities and challenges for society. Current trends predict that by 2051, one in four people in the UK will be older than 65. Established in 2008, the LLHW cross-council programme coordinated ageing research supported by the individual research councils and jointly funded multi-disciplinary research and capacity building in priority areas.

LLHW was a partnership between:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • Medical Research Council (MRC managed the programme on behalf of the funders)

LLHW built on the first cross-council ageing research initiative, New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA), established in 2005. A total of £20m was committed to the seven-year NDA programme to support multidisciplinary research across a range of ageing challenges.

LLHW priorities

LLHW published 'A strategy for collaborative ageing research in the UK' in September 2010. The strategy built on the UK’s strengths by identifying opportunities for greater impact on major ageing challenges through increased cross-sector working.

Four main areas were identified in the strategy and formed the LLHW research priorities:

Achieving good cognitive function and mental wellbeing in later life

  • Exploring the development and evaluation of interventions with the potential to enhance wellbeing in older age.
  • Identifying influences throughout the life course that shape cognitive function in old age and exploring strategies to maintain cognitive reserve.

Promoting physical health in older age

  • Identifying the drivers and effects of health behaviours and developing interventions that lead to sustained healthy lifestyles.
  • Understanding the determinants of life expectancy and the relationship between natural ageing and the development of age-related conditions

Extending healthy working lives

  • Creating environments to support health and wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Understanding the socioeconomic, health and quality of life implications of working at an older age.

Enhancing mobility and independence in an ageing population

  • Designing physical environments, products and services which facilitate mobility and social participation.
  • Developing effective interventions to support independent living.