Young people and old person looking at a laptop. Intergenerational family on computer.Shutterstock 1399045121

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.

Digital technology in development

  • Augmented Reality – This allows the user to move through a real life physical landscape, like a heritage site or football stadium and using a smart phone or headset they can see projected images onto certain ‘triggers.’
  • Immersive Reality – Whereas augmented reality is mainly transparent, VR is fully immersive, allowing you to see a completely different landscape or place than the one you are currently in.

Getty images 615629546 Senior woman using VR headset

Virtual reality landscapes

GOALD is working across multiple disciplines with partners from the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Health and Schools of Art, Design and Architecture and Society and Culture to create scans of our virtual reality landscapes. We have chosen spaces with a rich heritage, which our older participants may have a strong connection to but may find difficult to access.

Apps and other new technologies

If you or your company have a digital solution to encourage physical activity in older people please get in touch with us at This might be a fitness app, a game or another innovative eHealth tool. If successful your new technology will be trialled by our intergenerational participants and feedback provided at the end of the project.

Senior old man playing video gamesGetty 935695964

Contact us

If you would like to get in touch with our researchers about the GOALD project please contact: