Max Western, PhD, and Ross Watkins, PhD
Competition Sponsor: UK Research and Innovation
This research aims to address the problem of maintaining mobility, wellbeing, and quality of life in older adults in sheltered accommodation, assisted living, care homes and people who require outreach care. In other words, this project will aim to provide a personalized programme that transforms these settings into ones that facilitate rather than impeded active ageing.
Often when individuals reside in such facilities there is a tendency to succumb to an ageing stereotype characterized by a detachment from the wider social community, a reduction in physical activity, apathy towards cooking and eating healthy, balanced meals, and feelings of helplessness. Consequently, age-associated conditions such as cognitive impairment, loss of physical function, frailty and poor mental health are highly prevalent within this population.
Fortunately, many of these issues are preventable (or at the very least, can be decelerated) through simple lifestyle behaviors. Providing a system to motivate, prompt and support older adults to include health-enhancing ‘self-care’ behaviors into their daily routines can promote active ageing, and curb any preventable mental, physical, and emotional decline.
The WESTERN plan (Walking, Exercise Snacking, Tai-chi, Edification, Relationships, Nutrition) aims to provide a simple, personalized programme that is rooted in behavioral science to optimize motivation, engagement, and acceptability. The plan, which will be provided on a target-user informed digital platform for integration of behavior change techniques, scalability and dissemination, will provide structure for users, care staff and family members and act as a basis for continued growth, value, belongingness and thriving health and wellbeing in residents.