Interventions for lasting active ageing: a bottom-up interdisciplinary approach
Living an active lifestyle can reduce the number of chronic diseases among the growing population of older adults, but how to stimulate this? Since methods are lacking, a multidisciplinary team of researchers is working on a new intervention methodology for promoting active ageing in urban neighborhoods.
Eindhoven University of Technology, Wageningen University & Research and University Medical Center Utrecht started this SEED fund alliance project in March 2022. In one year they will develop and evaluate a methodology for co-designing active ageing in the Ontmoet & Groet senior center in Eindhoven.
Because of the current regulation older adults live at home longer. In this center they can be part of a community where they share similarities with other older adults. Also, they can participate in all kinds of activities there, like group gardening, an activity that benefits the physical, social and mental wellbeing of older adults. Group gardening is chosen as the case study for this project.
While developing a methodology, the team will also come up with prototypes for interventions. In a hackathon four groups of older adults and students from different disciplines will create concepts for group gardening.
Project leader Gubing Wang: “We will start from the best concept, develop a prototype and evaluate in the field (does it really engage older adults in the long-term?). Such a prototype can be a smart gardening bed, like an inclusive flowerbed that is accessible for people in a wheelchair or people with dementia. For example, the sensors detect humidity level in the soil, and the garden bed shines red light to let people know it needs water.”
Wang: “Since ageing is a bigger social problem, you need to integrate multiple disciplines in your approach. You cannot oversee the whole picture by focusing on one discipline. Therefore, in this project we involved different experts from: industrial design and built environment (Eindhoven University of Technology), public health (University Medical Center Utrecht) and information technology (Wageningen University & Research). Together we aim to find effective solutions.”