One of the biggest issues facing healthcare today is healthy ageing. Increasing physical activity, especially in a social environment, is one of the best ways to improve quality of life, health and vitality. Risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke, for example, is 20-35% lower in people who have a physically active lifestyle. Unfortunately, people tend to get less active with age, especially in later years.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also exacerbated this issue. Research led by GOALD’s Professor Anna Whittaker of the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport found that reports of loneliness in Scottish older adults increased as a result of social distancing. This study was funded by the Chief Scientist Office and is aligned to Stirling’s KAPS project (Keep Active Physically & Socially). The study also highlighted that safe social contact through physical activity may be an effective way to reduce loneliness, improve wellbeing and increase social support.
The GOALD project specifically aims to identify how intergenerational social contact, assistive technologies, digital solutions and sport based reminiscence can improve the health and well-being of older people.