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Centre for Elderly and Nursing Home Medicine (SEFAS)
Forskningsprosjekt

Measuring the advantages of an active life

The project “ActiveAgeing” will rely on smart technologies and interviews to find out how we can have a better and safer ageing. The project starts with data collection in Autumn 2021.

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Paradigm shift with ActiveAgeing

SEFAS will address the future challenges of elderly care with ActiveAgeing. Until 2050 it is expected that the number of people with dementia and Parkinson’s syndrome, while Norway is in need of many more healthcare workers. While 1 of each 7 works in healthcare today, we need an increase to 1 of each 3 before 2050. Therefore, being able to empower individuals to take care of themselves is an increasing need.

- I hope we can encourage elderly people to be more active, discover factors for optimal age and make possible to detect diseases earlier, says Haakon Reithe. He is employed as PhD candidate in the project.

ActiveAgeing aims to document the benefits of an active life by using technologies that collect data passively, while the participants have their normal daily life.

 

Helgetun – a unique living project for seniors

The project launches with a study with healthy elderly residents of Helgetun, a unique living environment that focuses on physical, mental, and social activities. The philosophy of Helgetun relies on making elderly residents decide for themselves and self-organize to do their favorite activities. The residents of Helgetun help in the functioning of Eplekarten kindergarten, do gardening, work with the animals in the farm, and act as support for the residents of the Helgeseter senior residence.

Helgetun fosters an individual and empowered life within an active and close community.

This setting is composed of 31 high-end, accessible apartments with their own terrace. It has its own parking lot and elevators to the apartments. Among other facilities, it includes a common room for social activities and a workshop and a big greenhouse where cultural activities can be arranged as well.

All of this makes Helgetun an exciting research arena for ActiveAgeing.

 

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Juan Carlos Torrado Vidal is a computer scientist that specializes in assistive technologies for people with special needs. He is motivated by the innovative aspect of Active Ageing, and the possibilities that it has to investigate the ageing process in collaboration with doctors, psychologists and pharmacists.

- I will use my experience to study the use of innovative wearable devices like smartwatches and smart rings to analyze the lifestyle and symptom progression in elderly people with Parkinson’s syndrome, Juan Carlos says.

 

Qualitative research

In order to investigate the effect of the living conditions of Helgetun in the ageing process and quality of life, the researchers in ActiveAgeing will use interviews. The questions and topics contained in these interviews will be decided and developed collaboratively with resident representatives to ensure a high-quality interview guide.

 These questions might be, for example:

  • What is your motivation to move to Helgetun?
  • What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Helgetun?
  • Which factors are important for your activity and motivation in your daily life? Which challenges do you find?
  • What would you do differently if you were to make your own senior-friendly residence concept?

During this qualitative inquiry and user involvement we will also investigate the relationship between elderly people and technology.

 

Quantitative research

By collecting quantitative data from the smart wearables, in combination with the qualitative interviews, the project seeks to contribute to the understanding of different diseases that affect elderly people. We will shed light on the symptoms and progression of Parkinson’s syndrome by collaborating with Neuro-SysMED, a center for excellency in the research of neurological diseases, which is tied to the Haukeland University Hospital and the University of Bergen.  This disease has a very individual development depending on the patient, which has made it difficult to monitor by traditional means. Therefore, we will use these technologies to track its symptoms, and the results of this study will serve as a reference for the DIGI.PARK research project.

With the help of Oura Ring, Fitbit Sense and Philips Actiwatch as reference wearable devices, ActiveAgeing will monitor movement patterns, heart rate, skin temperature and ambient light around-the-clock.