Health and Social Work

Innovating with Older Adults

This research group does applied research on innovations involving older adults, aiming to improve the life of both healthy and vulnerable older adults by
developing, sharing and implementing knowledge.

Mission statement

The research group does research commissioned by and in collaboration with professional and higher education practice and older adults themselves. We develop and evaluate innovations in our studies. Innovations may involve professional and technological improvements. Our research group aims to improve the lives of both healthy and vulnerable older adults by developing, sharing and implementing knowledge. This improvement applies to the quality and the control of one’s own life. 

Two research programmes

The research group has two research programs:

  1. Shared Decision Making in Complex Situations
  2. Innovative Participation

Our research group participates in ProMemo. All our ProMemo projects are part of the above research programs.

ProMemo, Expertise centre Dementia for Professionals

ProMemo targets the professional practice that aims to offer excellent support to people with dementia and their family carers. ProMemo marks the link between research, education and


Everybody ages in their own way and in a specific social and environmental context. That environment offers older adults different opportunities. Professionals must acknowledge the
uniqueness, preferences and capacities of older adults and the members of their personal network.
Innovations may facilitate this if they:

  • are developed in close collaboration with the professionals and older adults and personal network concerned
  • acknowledge the differences in the social and physical environment
  • are evidence based

Sharing information between research, education and professional
practice is essential for achieving successful innovations.

Target groups

  • Professionals working with vulnerable older adults (i.e. dementia, cancer, multi-problem, chronic disease, life style risk, socio-economically disadvantaged, illiterates)
  • Professionals working with healthy older adults

Innovating with older adults

Older adults have expertise that is useful for our research. This expertise is tapped in several ways:

  • Older Adults Sounding Board. These older adults convene four times per year. They offer advice on the relevance, content and design of research projects. This sounding board is organised by the research group and the bachelor education of Applied Gerontology
  • The Denktank 60 + Noord. This is a critical group of older adults who comment on research and education
  • Participation in projects, via sounding boards, project groups, as respondents and co-creators

Living Labs

LivingLabs offer a good setting to integrate practice innovation, learning and applied research. Professionals may learn how they can improve their practices with the target group. This may increase their career opportunities and job satisfaction. Students develop their innovation- and research competencies. Lecturers can adjust the education to the capacities of the professional practice and their students. Finally, researchers can conduct studies in close collaboration with older adults, professionals, students and lecturers. Educational innovation practices can be developed in the community, but also in care settings. Examples are the Community Lab Meppel (Zorgcampus Noorderboog),LivingLab (in Assendorp, Zwolle) and the Care Training Centres (Zwolle).

Research project: Professionalization of case managers' interaction with dementia care network members

Case managers feel a good relationship with their clients is the basis of their work. But how should this interaction be structured? This is the key issue in an (international) project to professionalize the interaction between case managers and health care network members.
Read more about this research project