University project aims to help people over 50 stay healthy and independent

Philip Rowe

A University of Strathclyde research project is aiming to help the over 50s in Scotland stay active, health and independent for longer.

Researchers on the Still Going Project at the University of Strathclyde are using the LifeCurve™ App, which advises people how to retain or regain their functional independence.

The free app is based on research by Newcastle University and developed by a company called ADL Smartcare Ltd. It is based on a model of ageing which shows that as people age, they lose the ability to do everyday activities in a relatively predictable order if they age normally.

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The LifeCurve™ App helps people to find out how they are ageing and then provides a range of recommended evidence-based activities to help the person maintain their ability or regain it where it has been lost. The app suggests physical activities geared towards building strength, balance, flexibility and endurance which can be incorporated into everyday life, without the need to visit a gym or use specialist equipment or clothing.

The functional activities, including climbing stairs, making a meal, going shopping, getting dressed and housework, were specifically chosen as you need to be able to do them to live independently.  There are also four strength and fitness points, which help people who have not yet lost the ability to carry out activities of daily living, to keep their independence for as long as possible.

Still Going Project Manager and Professor of Rehabilitation Science at Strathclyde, Philip Rowe, (pictured) said: “Many people don’t know they should be doing these things to preserve their function, and it’s never too early or too late to start. It’s not about exercise per se or about running a triathlon, it’s about being functionally independent – that’s the crucial difference.

“It’s even more important if you have one or more long term health conditions and we know from previous work, the higher up the LifeCurve™  you are, the better quality of life you have and the less health care you use.

“We did a survey in Scotland of 15,000 people receiving health and social care services that showed many people were being seen far too late in the journey to make a significant difference to their ageing journey.

“The only way to have a good impact on that functional decline journey was for people to get the message that functional decline is not inevitable and they can use the app to help them stay independent. During COVID-19 many more of us have been less active, so it’s even more important.”

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Lee Peart

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