Irish Gerontological Society Public Lecture Series

Ageing in Place- the Danish experience

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

There is no charge for IGS Public Lectures.

You are advised to book early as places may be limited.  Over 6,000 people registered for our last public lecture.  The lecture recording has been viewed over 10,000 times. Please share this information with family, friends and professional networks.


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

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.