Demographic change has increased the need for research on healthcare for older people. Recently there has been a growing awareness that research might benefit from actively involving patients and the public in study design and conduct. Besides empowering patients and democratizing research, involvement enhances the quality of research and the development of equitable healthcare solutions. Little is known about how to involve older people. This review aims to support scientists intending to involve older people in health research by systematically identifying and describing studies involving older people and analyzing associated facilitators and challenges. Old people were operationalized as people living with old-age-related conditions. We conducted a systematic search in PubMed, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), and Cochrane library for the period 2007 to July 2017 and also manually searched reference lists of the nine retrieved articles and other relevant sources. While involvement of older people in research is feasible, specific challenges related to this group need be taken into account. Strategies to enhance effective involvement comprise a thoughtful choice of location, use of visualization and accessible communication, building good relationships and flexible approaches. Further research is needed on the involvement of people in care homes or with vision, hearing or mobility limitations.
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