Message from Our President

Professor Rose Anne Kenny

On behalf of your National Executive Committee, I am delighted to welcome you to the Irish Gerontological Society (IGS) website. I am honoured to be elected president of the Irish Gerontological Society in October 2020.

I would like to pay a warm and grateful tribute to my predecessor Dr Diarmuid O’Shea. During very challenging times in 2020, he and the National Executive have ensured continuity of our commitment to education, training and research through innovative outreach programmes which will continue every two weeks throughout 2020 and 2021. The programmes ‘Changing Horizons in Gerontology’ included an inspiring, insightful and informed IGS ALONE Willie Bermingham lecture from Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme.  This on-line Autumn Scientific Series is available to members and the forthcoming programme can be viewed at this link.

The Society and its president have also been prominent leaders in advocacy to improve health, social support and services and I will continue this important advocacy role, arguably more important now than ever before.

Application for membership of the IGS is welcomed from all health care professionals, researchers and scientists with an interest in ageing and the life course. Members connect through seminars, conferences, virtual learning platforms as well as through participation on our committees. Information on membership and subscription rates are available at this link.

 Our society of 69 years is more essential, vibrant and interdisciplinary than ever before and we continue to grow. The IGS is a member of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics and is active in its European section.

Founded by Dr John Fleetwood and Prof Jerry Jessop in 1951, the Society has developed into an interdisciplinary professional organization whose membership reflects the complexity and diversity of those interested in promoting the interests of older people and, in how knowledge about ageing and later life can be enhanced and improved.  We should all aim to build on the growth and success of our society over the last 68 years.
The Irish healthcare system continues to develop initiatives to address the challenges of a rapidly ageing demography in Ireland, informed and enhanced by the supportive scholarship and expertise of IGS members. To ensure continued change and progress, we will continue to equip ourselves and the health care system with the skills and knowledge required to enable optimum health and well being.  

A central aim of the IGS is to highlight the contribution which older people make to modern-day society.  By bringing together health and social care professionals, biologists, social scientists, policymakers, and increasingly those involved in technological development, we hope to encourage and support an increasing and closer network of professionals, researchers and scientists who are dedicated to better care throughout the life span.

However, none of this working together is of any value without the extraordinary dedication and talent of those who provide this compassionate and expert care on the front line.  As frontline health care workers you are all playing your part, heroically going quietly, conscientiously and compassionately about your work; while meeting the everyday challenges of treating older people who are unwell, in need of medical care, therapy and support in our acute hospitals, residential and nursing home services and the community.  We recognise your individual and collective contributions and, thank each and every one of you sincerely for your dedication, commitment and compassion to the work you do every day.

Empowering people, through knowledge, research and education - both society at large and health care professionals specifically – enables us all to address and harness the collective innovative skills, dedication and compassionate care that health care workers strive to provide.  This, in turn, can ensure that when people need access to the care and support, it is better planned, better coordinated, easier to access and truly person-centred.

As your president, I am particularly mindful that ageist attitudes and language are widely prevalent throughout our society and even in our health and social care systems. These have been particularly unmasked during the recent crisis. We encourage terms that are precise, accurate and value-free.

I hope you find this website interesting and informative.  I hope it will encourage you to engage with the work of the IGS.  Together, lets us Inspire (I), Grow (G), Support and Sustain (S) the speciality of gerontology and quality of care provision across the island of Ireland. 

Professor Rose Anne Kenny