[A brief reference to this item appears in: Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 3 Issue 3, October 2012].
There is an increasing interest worldwide in measuring and monitoring wellbeing, whether at the individual, social group or national level. This Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology, POSTnote summarises recent research into measuring national wellbeing, its components and causes, and discusses the policy implications.
Regarding wellbeing and the ageing population, subjective wellbeing research is thought by the US National Academies Panel on Well-being and Policy to have a potentially significant role in policy for the elderly and / or people with chronic (long-term) conditions including dementia. Greater life expectancy means more people experience age-related degenerative disease, while chronic diseases require long-term medical treatment. Research into the determinants of subjective wellbeing might improve people’s quality of life beyond the scope of traditional clinical healthcare.
Bunn, S. and Venkatapuram, S. (2012). Measuring national wellbeing. London: POST (Great Britain. Parliament. Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology), September 17th 2012. (POSTnote No.421).
Volunteering and Wellbeing in Later Life (WRVS)
The following study examined the relationship between volunteering and well-being in later life, using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. On balance, volunteering appears to improve well-being.
Nazroo, J. [and] Matthews, K. (2012).The impact of volunteering on well-being in later life: a report to WRVS. Cardiff: WRVS, May 2012.
Note: In 2013 the WRVS (formerly the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service) dropped the “W” on the occasion of their 75th anniversary.