How technology is helping people get ahead of the ‘Curve

A Scottish Government funded research project is investigating what keeps people active and independent in later life using the free LifeCurve App.  There are different ways to get involved and the researchers are looking for people aged 50 years and over to take part.  Many of the activities in the App are about using social support so hopefully the project can visibly demonstrate the impact of the third and independent sectors. The researchers hope their findings will help identify what works for people to keep them active, connected and doing the things that matter to them.

The LifeCurveTM itself is a model of ageing which describes the set order we all lose the ability to carry out these everyday activities as we get older.  It was developed in Newcastle University with industry partners ADL Smartcare Ltd.  Which ‘Curve you are on depends on a number of factors including your health (and any long-term conditions you may have), your socioeconomic background and your social connections.  However, age itself is not a good indicator of when you might start to appear on your LifeCurveTM or what kind of ‘Curve you might have.  We do know that the earliest you might struggle to cut your toenails is at 42 years, but many people will still be able to do this into their 80’s and 90’s.  Wherever you are on your LifeCurveTM and whatever kind of ‘Curve you are experiencing, the good news is that you can change this.  And it’s never too early or too late to start.

The CCPS Digital Programme supports increased confidence with and use of digital technology for people using and providing services. What we have seen during COVID-19 is a rapid increase in the use of technology from people accessing health and care services remotely over the internet using the NHS Near Me facility, to people connecting via Zoom to local social groups and using a range of social media to stay connected to family and friends.  We know that not everybody has access to the internet or to smartphones or tablets.  Connecting Scotland has been set up to help people  who struggle to get on the internet and you can find out more about this here: https://connecting.scot/

The LifeCurveTM App has a wide range of evidence-based activities and advice designed to help you maintain or improve your LifeCurveTM position.  And many of the activities can be done at home which is great for people who are recovering from the impact of COVID-19.  The researchers are also working with partners across Scotland who want to use the App in a locally led project.  This means they can add activities – including information and signposting to local social support organisations.

We asked groups of older people what made for a good life and they told us what mattered to them:

  • Being active, keeping physical fitness, mental wellness and mobility
  • Socialising with family and friends and doing activities you enjoy
  • Keeping positive and being involved in what’s happening around you
  • Keeping independent and having financial security

We all want to keep doing the things that matter to us for as long as possible.

What do you need to do to take part? Download and register on the free LifeCurveTM App (available on any smart device), then connect to the STILL Going Project and start using the App.

What will the App do for me? Find out how you are ageing and then select from evidence-based information, activities and advice that will help you improve how you are ageing – the earlier you start the better.  But remember it is never too late to start – you can improve wherever you are on your LifeCurveTM.   We are looking for people living in Scotland aged 50 years and upwards to take part.

What information will the researchers have about me? If you sign up to the Project, the researchers will be able to see your anonymous in-App information but WILL NOT be able to see any of your personally identifiable information.  You can leave the project at any time – and still use the App if you want to.

The researchers are based in Strathclyde University, Glasgow and hope their findings will support service providers focus on what people say works for them to keep independent, active and healthy throughout their whole lifespan. We also hope it can help change the thinking on getting older and being older – by challenging negative stereotypes of older people and valuing older people for the contributions they make to friends, family and their local communities.  For more information visit www.stillgoingproject.co.uk  where you can find out about the App and the Project,  or email susan.kelso@strath.ac.uk