Professor of Gerontology and Public Health, Gerontology Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä
Preliminary title of the keynote talk:
“Promoting functional capacity in old age with physical activity: a life span perspective”
Taina Rantanen obtained her PhD in 1994 at the University of Jyväskylä. After that she worked in various early career faculty positions at the Univerity of Jyväskylä. In 1997-1998 she received a chance to work as the Visiting Fellow at the National Institute on Aging in USA, and after that as the Senior Global Health Leadership Fellow at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Returning to Finland she was elected as the Academy of Finland Research Fellow. In 2005 she was nominated as the professor of Gerontology and Public Health at the University of Jyväskylä. She has led several large studies on physical activity and functioning in old age. In 2016 professor Rantanen was awarded ERC Advanced Grant for her study on active ageing, and the Finnish Cultural Foundation granted her the valued Schildt prize for her accomplishments in promoting the research and academic education in gerontology and public health.
What do you think are the most exciting present and future developments in your field of aging research?
I want to produce knowledge that will help older people to be involved in meaningful life situations for as long as possible according to their goals and abilities. I have a long term interest in research on promoting functioning in old age and as a result I have led several studies on this topic: The Finnish Twin Study on Ageing (FITSA); Screening and Counseling for Physical activity and Mobility (SCAMOB); Work, Retirement and Active Ageing (WRACA); Volunteer Work, Outdoor Activities and Wellbeing of Older People (VOW); and Life-Space Mobility in Old Age (LISPE). In the future I wish to study the diversity of active ageing by developing an approach that will incorporate other aspects beyond disability. Studying participation will shift the focus from cause to impact, a view I believe is timely when more and more people survive to very old age.
What do you expect from 23NKG?
I am happy to be here in Tampere, my home town, where I grew up doing sports and listening to the local rock bands. My life is now more subdued mainly consisting of work, endless renovations in our log house, gardening and occasional congress trips.