27Professor Wendy Loretto | University of Edinburgh; Dr Jakov Jandric; Garrett Sprague
Competition Sponsor: United Kingdom Research and Innovation
Awardee Year: 2023
Against the backdrop of the UK’s ageing population and workforce, there is widening economic and social concern about high rates of economic inactivity (early retirement) among people aged 50+. Around a fifth of those who leave work early do so because of health complications, with negative consequences for their future health and wellbeing.
Existing work through the Supporting Healthy Ageing at Work (SHAW; https://www.shaw.business-school.ed.ac.uk/) project has found that key barriers to addressing health support for older workers lies: firstly in their lack of understanding of the ways their health affects their work and vice versa; and secondly in being able to communicate their health needs to managers or to navigate the occupational health services that may be on offer to them.
This project brings together that empirical knowledge alongside an exciting new tech startup (Smplicare; https://smplicare.com/) with expertise in health data collection and modelling to develop an innovative intervention which will help individuals better understand the ways in which their health, work and wider lives interact, and will build on this understanding to offer a tool to help them more effectively navigate their health needs at work.
The research and development will be conducted in the supported housing sector, part of the social care sector that is currently facing a crisis in terms of employee commitment, attraction and retention. The responsibility to provide care is increasing because of demographic shifts. As such, timely and innovative intervention is much needed.