About A Good Life

We were commissioned by the Life Changes Trust in 2016 to conduct a research project which wanted to explore what constitutes a good life for people over the age of 50. We were interested in the role that communities play in supporting the quality of life of the older people living within them.

Red apples growing against a trellis fence

We felt that the best way to identify what contributes to a good life for older people would be to work with older people to identify these issues themselves. A Good Life was co-produced with 30 older people who were trained to become 'community researchers'. Together we chose to conduct a survey, run focus groups and use photographs, which led to us identifying 17 specific issues that we felt contributed to a good life.

The 17 themes were:

  1. Health and Wellbeing
  2. Work and Retirement
  3. Housing
  4. Money
  5. Environment
  6. Volunteering
  7. Communities
  8. Learning
  9. Relationships
  10. Hobbies and activities
  11. Social Attitudes
  12. Technology
  13. Independence
  14. Belief Systems and Spirituality
  15. Travel
  16. Preparing for end of life
  17. Services

Not all of these aspects will be important to everybody, and the extent to which they are important will be different for each person or community. There will be differences in how much each person or group feels satisfied with these issues, or how important they think they are. Being able to track these issues became an important part of understanding what contributed to a good life.

We then wanted to think about how we could use this information to improve communities. The Life Changes Trust generously provided funding for us to develop Towards a Good Life. With this funding we developed the toolkit and supporting resources that are provided here.

In this recorded video Dr Grant Gibson discusses the A Good Life in later years project and its links with the ‘ 'Towards a Good Life Resource'.