Ms Cook opened the Community Research Fair organised by Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies, held in the Market Square in the mall, last week. Professors, researchers and students were on hand at the market stalls to explain and demonstrate research work carried out by Brunel University, Kingston Lane in Uxbridge. The former BBC Crimewatch and BBC Nationwide TV presenter appeared with her parents, Kay and Bill Thomas, of Swakeley's Road, in Ickenham.
“There is a growing number of people aged over 60, now,“ she said. “It's important to find ways to manage. Brunel University is helping to do that.
“My parents are shining adverts of how ageing can be enjoyed,“ she added.
Brunel University Professor Emeritus of BioEngineering, Heinz Wolff, 82, who also a well-known broadcaster, said, “We are moving an age when the population will rise substantially.“ He explained that some of the exhibits at the research fair, which took place as part of National Science and Engineering Week, were “concerned with how care can be given in a situation which is quite difficult.“
He suggested that local people should play a greater role in caring for older people and that a system of giving and receiving community care in later life should be set up.
Academics present included psychologist , Dr Andrew Parton, who showed how tests could be applied to diagnose the early onset of Parkinson's Disease; Dr Tony Ellison, who demonstrated assistive web-based technology; and Drs Alexandra Farrow and Frances Reynolds who are investigating the quality of life of people working beyond retirement age.
Many of the researchers are looking for volunteers to interview and the public were offered the opportunity to join the Brunel Older People's Reference Group, a list of people over 50, who receive invitations to participate in research projects and attend University events.
The Director of the Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies, Professor Mary Gilhooly, said: “We welcomed the opportunity to share our work with the people of Hillingdon and hope that they enjoyed the day as much as we did.“