Centre for Elderly and Nursing Home Medicine (SEFAS)

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 started with a first data collection in Winter 2021 and will begin the second one in Autumn 2022.

Fitbit Sense, Oura Ring, and Empatica E4

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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.

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. The project has two sub studies: Helgetun and DIGI.PARK. Both parts will explore digital phenotyping using wearable technology for different participants: healthy elderly people at Helgetun and persons with Parkinson in DIGI.PARK.

- 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.

Helgetun – a unique living project for seniors

Helgetun is an innovative ad unique residential project that aims to foster active ageing with facilities to increase physical, mental and social activities. The goal of the project is that the residents manage to live at home longer, with better physical and mental health. The setting is composed of 31 modern apartments, located at a nature-based environment in Sædal, in the outskirts of Bergen.

In Helgetun, the residents can participate in several group activities such as choir, hiking, bridge and dancing, collaborate with the Steiner-style kindergarten “Eplekarten”, work at a farm, and support their neighbours in the Helgeseter senior centre. Among the facilities, there is a common room for social activities and a greenhouse for occasional cultural arrangements.

Elise Førsund is employed as a doctoral fellow on the Helgetun part of the project and will research the residents over the next few years this living arrangement and the implementation of smart technology in older adults. Among other things, she wants to investigate how living in a community, where the residents help and motivate each other, affects their activity level and quality of life. A combination of quantitative (from smart devices) and qualitative (from interviews) data will be collected from Helgetun to get a comprehensive picture of how the form of housing affects the aging of the residents.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Monica Pătraşcu is a systems engineer with long experience with artificial intelligence and control systems. She is motivated to apply knowledge discovery and digital signal processing to detect patterns in the data that show us information about the lifestyle and symptoms of elderly people.

Qualitative research

To find out how the living arrangement at Helgetun affects the aging process and the quality of life, the residents will be interviewed. The questions for the individual interviews will be developed in collaboration with resident representatives to ensure good quality of the interview guide.

For example, we ask:

• What was your motivation for moving to Helgetun?

• What are the positive and negative aspects of living at Helgetun?

• What factors are most important for your activity and motivation in everyday life? And what barriers are there?

• What would you have done differently if you had created a senior-friendly housing concept yourself?

Through qualitative follow-up and user participation, we also become better acquainted with the elderly's relationship and attitude to smart technology.

Quantitative research - DIGI.PARK

With the use of smart technology to obtain quantitative data, in combination with qualitative interviews, the project can provide a richer understanding of various diseases. In collaboration with the Center for Excellence "Neuro-Sysmed" which is affiliated with Haukeland University Hospital and the University of Bergen, we want to put the spotlight on Parkinson's disease. The disease develops very individually and is demanding to monitor. The technology will, among other things, be used to log symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and results from the study will serve as reference information for the research project DIGI.PARK.

Using Oura Ring, Fitbit Sense and Empatica E4, Active Aging will examine movement patterns, heart rate, skin temperature and ambient light during the day.