President Michael D. Higgins performed the official opening of Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing at St. James’s Hospital. In his address President Michael D. Higgins spoke of the opportunities as well as the challenges of ensuring that elderly citizens enjoy active and fulfilled lives.
“In a world where we can expect to see more and more people leading significantly longer lives, innovative and creative thought around the ageing process will become increasingly important.”
The President has spoken on many occasions of the importance of building a society which fully values its older citizens and which gives stronger voices to people often regarded primarily as passive recipients of services.
How long do you want to live? How do you want to live those years? And which is more important, a long life or a healthy life? Or could we possibly enjoy both health and longevity as medical science continues to make advances in our understanding of human life and death?
These fundamental questions are moving centre stage in Ireland as our society grows collectively older. After decades of rejoicing in our relative youth – remember our boasts about being the youngest people in Europe – we now have to grapple with the challenges posed by an increasingly older, and potentially dependent, population.
They are also at the heart of the work of Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing, an ambitious new project on the campus of St James’s Hospital which is being opened by the President Michael D Higgins, on Wednesday (December 7th).
The award was presented by it’s President, Prof Moira O’Brien at the Annual General Meeting of the Society which this year took place in Trinity College Dublin. Prof Walsh is also the Director of the Mercer’s Institute for Research on Ageing, consultant physician at the MedEL Directorate at St James’s and Clinical Professor, Department of Medical Gerontology in TCD. He received the award in recognition of his “outstanding work and commitment to the area of osteoporosis” at the Irish Osteoporosis Society Annual Medical Conference, which took place in TCD last month.
The Mercer’s Institute for Research on Ageing has taken a lead role as a regional and national referral centre for the treatment of, and research into, severe osteoporosis and complex bone disease.
Prof Walsh’s original research on vitamin D led to the use of Vitamin D supplementation in milk in Ireland and the development of Supermilk in a joint project with Premier Dairies (now Avonmore -Glanbia).
Prof Walsh’s other research interests include Memory, Hypertension, Stroke, Clostridium difficile, Pneumonia and Incontinence in the elderly.
Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing and the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Trinity College were delighted to welcome the esteemed poet Michael Longley for an evening of poetry.
Longley is renowned for the beauty of his compact, meditative lyrics which have been described as “masterpieces of lucidity.” Longley reflected on ageing and memory by reading poems by other poets and poems from his own books, including The Stairwell, winner of the 2015 Griffin International Poetry Prize, as well as new work.