Dr Jane Mullins Research assistant: health and wellbeing 8 February 2021

But for some older people, limited mobility leads to them being isolated and trapped within their homes (even more so at the moment, due to Covid-19).

Jo Hudson, Jane Mullins and Gareth Stratton from our Health and Wellbeing research group at the Awen Institute are teaming up with Chi Zhang and Gavin Bailey from the Computational Foundry and Prof Michael Rosenberg from Western Australia, to explore novel ways of motivating older adults to become more active in their own homes.

HomeSPACE for Older Adults: Increasing Physical Activity in the Home

Everyone’s home has been in much sharper focus over the past year as we’re all spending much more time there than we were previously – although for some older adults, this has long been the case prior to Covid-19.

For many older adults this means that they are not as physically active as they need to be, to enable them to maintain physical health and mental wellbeing. Physical inactivity can lead to many health conditions and prevents people from being socially active, limiting their ability to take part as they might want to, in their community.

Our goal is to support older adults in becoming more independent in their own homes and more involved in their communities through being more active and less sedentary at home. Academics from Swansea and Western Australia have developed a tool called HomeSPACE-II that has enabled them to map the home spaces of children (e.g., stairs, space to play in, equipment available for encouraging physical activity, screens that discourage activity, family social climate), encourage physical activity and decrease their increasingly sedentary behaviour (Maitland et al., 2014, Sheldrick et al., 2020).

Teaming up with Bridgend County Council’s Super Agers project, our work at the Awen Institute will modify HomeSPACE-II for use with older adults, leading to the development of HomeSPACE-III. Then, using movement sensors in people’s homes and in the Awen Institute’s Living Lab, we will monitor their movement patterns and link these data to the information we can gain from HomeSPACE-III to enable us to make recommendations about how older people could move better in their homes and so increase their physical abilities, confidence, independence and most importantly, quality of life.


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