Sheera Sutherland, PhD, Andy Meaney, PhD, Patrick Doherty, PhD, and Helen Dawes, PhD
Competition Sponsor: UK Research and Innovation
For older adults, exercise improves fitness and health, maximises participation, increases functional independence and enhances quality of life. Higher fitness-levels are linked to lower levels of emotional distress and depression, improved mobility, functionality and independence encouraging a higher level of behavioural activation and social inclusion.
Adherence and compliance with recommended exercise guidelines remains poor amongst ageing adults who frequently avoid participation for fear of falling, exacerbating symptoms or provoking pain or fatigue. The shortage of appropriately qualified trainers means some institutionalised elderly are sedentary for over 12 hours a day, their only energy expenditure being when getting in and out of bed.
We have created a series of bed and chair-based programs for older adults, some of whom may be resistant to exercise, providing a graduated course of physical activity suitable for everyone, from the very frail to the healthy agile.
We will engage older adults who may be isolated, bedbound, frail, have multiple health conditions, physical disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health issues, and lead them through specialised bed and chair-based exercises given remotely, linked by a live-stream platform such as Webinar or Zoom, presented on large-screen TV, through their own smartphone, tablet or laptop enabling everyone to work in a group. The sessions will be supplemented by videos and an App.
During the next 12 months we will complete the filming, select the live-stream platform and test the system in community settings with the aim of producing a solution ready to roll out to the Care Home sector.