Background: Researchers often assume that older adults are too frail or cognitively impaired to participate in patient-centered outcomes research, especially those with multiple chronic conditions and cognitive limitations (Holroyd-Leduc et al., 2016 and McNeil et al., 2016). Engaging only higher-functioning older adults leads to findings that cannot be consistently applied to older individuals with comorbidities and frailty (Holroyd-Leduc et al., 2016).
Proposed Solution to the Problem: The LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston and its partners will build on the Bureau of Sages Virtual Seminar Series to host the Sages’ Symposium to Expand Researcher Readiness. This event will allow researchers and frail older adults to learn from one another and put forward new ideas for research and partnerships.
Objectives: The symposium will expand the pool of researchers who engage frail older adults by addressing skepticism; sharing tools and resources; and identifying ways to infuse the frail older adult voice into research via new partnerships.
Activities: The project team will convene a steering committee inclusive of Sages and researchers to design and implement the symposium; host the symposium in the Chicago area to encourage older adults already engaged in the Bureau of Sages model to participate; synthesize shared resources and key learnings; and disseminate products through the team’s networks and academic sources.
Outcomes and Outputs (projected): The Sages’ symposium will support the readiness of researchers to conduct engaged research and expand partnerships with frail older adults. Tangible outputs include multimedia products that synthesize resources and key lessons; landing web page for information sharing and promoting partnerships; and increased enthusiasm for engaged research among researchers and older adults. The team believes its impact will be demonstrated through an increase in patient-centered outcome research proposals that meet frail older adults’ needs.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Frail older adults and researchers are primary stakeholders and will lead the work through the steering committee. They will meet virtually no fewer than six times to plan the event and guide deliverable formation and dissemination. Steering committee members will access honorariums and paid travel to participate. Additional funding will be dedicated to accessible materials and personal support.
Project Collaborators: The LTSS Center will work directly with CJE SeniorLife, LeadingAge, and frail older adults to plan and follow up on this event. The team’s established partnerships will expedite this project and support broad dissemination of products. The LTSS Center combines the resources of a major research university with the experience of applied researchers working with providers. CJE SeniorLife has dedicated 40 years to helping frail older adults live meaningful lives and was awarded two PCORI Engagement Awards (2640-CJE and 7206-CJE) for the Bureau of Sages model. LeadingAge is a trusted voice for aging with over 6,000 members and partners, including nonprofits, consumer groups, and research centers. The team will subcontract with Collective Insight, a woman-owned business that specializes in stakeholder engagement, to facilitate the steering committee and coordinate symposium logistical planning.