Public Lecture: 'Ageing in Place- The Danish Experience'

24 June 2021

Organised by: Irish Gerontological Society


Irish Gerontological Society Public Lecture Series Ageing in Place- the Danish experience

Thursday June 24th  2021     3.00 - 4.30 p.m.

@irishgerontsoc     #igspl

There is no charge for IGS Public Lectures but donations to support our work are appreciated

Please click on this link to make a donation


When it comes to examining how different countries and cultures address ageing, we need look no further than Denmark. Danes employ an ‘ageing in place’ policy whereby, over 30 years ago, they started to close down nursing homes and to redeploy funds and human resources to enable people stay in their own homes with support for health needs as necessary. Numbers of nursing home residents are therefore less than one tenth of that in Ireland although the population differences are 5.3 versus 4.4 million respectively. For the small numbers of people who are in nursing homes, the care is in the main, although not exclusively, delivered in houses with 4 or 5 “apartments” and a central nursing pod. Couples can be together and if one dies, their partner can remain in the nursing home apartment- it is ‘home’.

Of 128  countries analysed in the Social Progress Index, Denmark has most consistently topped Europe’s happiness rankings for the past 40 years. Danish society makes it easy to live an interesting, fulfilled life, where age is respected. Danes spend more money per capita than almost any other nation on children and on older people. Young people get an excellent education and health care. Equipped with a strong liberal arts education, Danes make productive employees. Adults spend little time worrying about retirement and focus more on pursuing the jobs they love and can enjoy their final years with the knowledge that the necessities will be covered. It’s a virtuous circle.

Professor Rudi Westendorp from the University of Copenhagen will share with us his experience of the ‘Ageing in Place’ model and he will be joined by a panel of experts to discuss the social, health and economic implications of the Danish model for Ireland.

The event will be co chaired by the IGS President Professor Rose Anne Kenny and Professor Alan Barrett, CEO of the Economic and Social Research Institute

Panellists:  Amanda Phelan,  Professor in Ageing and Community Nursing at Trinity College Dublin, Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics at the National University of Ireland Galway & Brendan Walsh, Social Research Division at the ESRI & Catherine Cox, Head of Communications, Family Carers Ireland 

The panel will contribute towards addressing issues raised and questions posed by the audience.   However, it may not be possible to answer all questions we receive.

Speakers and Panel


Rudi Westendorp is professor of Medicine at Old age at Copenhagen University, Denmark since 2015 . He trained at Leiden University, Netherlands and  became a consultant in internal medicine and epidemiology and later dedicated himself into geriatrics and gerontology. He was full professor at the Leiden University Medical Center, and chair of the department of old age medicine (2000-2014). He was founding director of the Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing (2007-2014) that conducts research, provides education and pursues societal innovations to improve quality of life of older people. 


Eamon O’Shea is Professor of Economics at the National University of Ireland Galway and Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia. He is a Health Research Board (HRB) Research Leader in dementia in Ireland.


Amanda Phelan was appointed as a Professor of Ageing and Community Nursing in the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin in March 2020. Prior to this appointment, she was an Associate Professor in Nursing in the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems, University College Dublin (UCD). In UCD, Amanda was the Director of Gerontological Programmes, Associate Dean of Global Engagement and Deputy Director of the National Centre for the Protection of Older People. Amanda has a research interest in safeguarding vulnerable populations (particularly related to older people), older person care, missed care, public health and community nursing. Amanda is Vice President of the All Ireland Gerontological Nurses’ Association and General Secretary of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.


Dr Brendan Walsh is a Research Officer at the ESRI and an adjunct Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin. He was awarded a PhD in Health Economics from NUI Galway in 2014. Previously, Brendan was a postdoctoral researcher at City University of London and Imperial College London, and a visiting research scholar at the University of Washington.His main research interest lies in the economics of health and social care. 


Catherine Cox  has worked within Family Carers Ireland (formerly The Carers Association Ireland) for almost 20 years.  She holds degrees in Social Care and Human Resource Management and is a certified digital marketing professional. She has worked with family carers for many years in an effort to highlight the challenges that they face, influence social policy for family carers and support them in lobbying for better services and recognition for their invaluable work and contribution to our society.

She is the national spokesperson for Family Carers Ireland and engages with family carers, policy makers, political representatives and media at a local and national level in an effort to highlight the challenges that family carers face and influence positive change in their lives throughout their caring roles.


Alan Barrett is the CEO of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland’s leading centre for policy-oriented social science research. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University. He is currently a member of the Northern Ireland Fiscal Council, an honorary member of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and an adjunct professor at TCD. He was a member of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council from 2011-2015.

Rose Anne Kenny is Professor of Medical Gerontology and Head of the academic department of Medical Gerontology at Trinity College Dublin. She is the present President of the IGS. She is also director of the recently established Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) at St. James’s Hospital Dublin, which is a state of the art facility hosting ambulatory care, inpatients, education and research facilities for older adults. She is the founding Principal Investigator of Ireland’s largest adult population study on the experience of ageing– for The Irish LongituDinal study on Ageing  (TILDA). She has a high international standing for her research on ageing ranked in the top 5% of geriatric medicine publications.

The contents of this online IGS public lecture - such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained in the webinar lecture and panel discussion - are for your information only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis,  interpretation or treatment.

You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you hear in this IGS webinar.The IGS recommends that you refer to, and follow the guidelines of, official sources of COVID_19 information in Ireland such as these: