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Using TEC to get ahead of the LifeCurve

The STILL Going Project, based at Strathclyde University, is a two-year Scottish Government funded study to investigate what keeps people active, healthy and independent using the ADL LifeCurve app

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In April this year, the Daily Express ran an article about the top five exercises for older people at home during lockdown. Every age group has experienced curbs on their activity levels during the Covid-19 pandemic – from primary school children to septuagenarians and older.

We know physical activity is a good thing, but we now understand the crucial role it has in our health and wellbeing. The UK Academy of Medical Colleges published a report in 2015 about exercise as the ‘miracle cure’, and, last year, the UK updated its national physical activity guidelines to include strength and balance activities in our weekly routine. So just why is movement, activity, keeping muscle strength and, more importantly, not sitting so important? Sir Muir Gray, public health expert and adviser to the NHS and government, describes how we reach a turning point of ‘fitness decline’, somewhere in our mid-20s, and that ageing isn’t a problem until our 90s. He says ageing is due to three processes: loss of fitness, disease, and negative thinking. And this is what makes ageing so malleable or, in other words, why you can ‘change how you age’. 

Experts have found that what we understand as ageing starts somewhere in your 40s and that there is a set order to the loss of ability to carry out everyday activities. This has been termed the LifeCurve, which describes 15 activities of daily living that are needed for independent living. It starts with being able to cut our toenails and ends with being able to eat and drink by ourselves.

The STILL Going Project, based at Strathclyde University, is a two-year Scottish Government funded study to investigate what keeps people active, healthy and independent using the ADL LifeCurve app. The researchers are looking for people aged 50 years and over to take part by downloading the app, which is free and can be used on any smart device. You can find out where you are on your LifeCurve and choose from a wide range of evidence-based activities, tasks, information and advice aimed to improve your current LifeCurve stage. By taking part in the project, app users can share their anonymised data to help build a better understanding of what works to keep Scottish people active and healthy.

The project supports pledges 2,4,5 and 6 in the TEC Housing Charter. If you know where your residents are on their LifeCurve, and what activities will help them to maintain or improve their status, you will be better informed to co-design the kind of support that you provide, understand what kind of environment best promotes independence and promote an enabling ethos for increased health and wellbeing. On a final note, STILL stands for ‘Stay Totally Independent in Later Life’ which we hope will help to counter ageism.

Find out more about the project visit www.stillgoingproject.co.uk or contact susan.kelso@strath.ac.uk or Gbegg@SFHA.co.uk for any queries or if you are interested in becoming a project partner.

 

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