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Role Of Digital Health Wearables In The Wellbeing And Quality Of Life Of Older People And Carers

Minocha, Shailey; Tudor, Ana-Despina; Banks, Duncan; Holland, Caroline; McNulty, Catherine; Ail, Rohit; Palmer, Jane and Bowering, Sue (2018). Role Of Digital Health Wearables In The Wellbeing And Quality Of Life Of Older People And Carers. In: Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS): Using Technology in Social Care, 14 Mar 2018, Belfast.

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The number of adults aged 65 and over has increased by 2% across Europe in the past 15 years, and in Northern Ireland by 22% between 2003-2013. The proportion of the population in this age group is projected to increase by 63% to just under 0.5 million by 2033 – which will be a quarter of the population in Northern Ireland. Given Northern Ireland’s Active Ageing Strategy (2015-2021), there is an increasing focus on encouraging physical activity as we get older to preserve mobility and motor skills, and to enjoy the benefits of living longer and to minimise health problems associated with ageing. Over the last two years, we have been investigating the role of wearable activity tracking technologies in self-monitoring of activity by people aged over 55. Example technologies include activity trackers from Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung, and smart watches. Typically, these devices record steps walked, sleep patterns, calories expended and heart rate.

Based on empirical investigations, this policy paper describes the benefits of activity monitors for people aged over 55 for self-monitoring of physical activity, for adopting healthy lifestyles, and for increasing or maintaining physical activity as a way to avoid high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and other medical conditions associated with weight or lower physical activity. It outlines the role of activity trackers in post-operative monitoring of mobility during rehabilitation, in caring, and for possible use of the data for diagnosis and medical interventions. It then discusses the challenges for adoption of these technologies, given currently, off-the-shelf devices are designed and calibrated for use by physically fit (typically young active people) with unrealistic fitness targets for the older generation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 The Authors
Keywords: activity trackers; behaviour change; digital health; digital health wearables; active and healthy ageing; older people; people aged over 55 years; isolation; loneliness; elderly; ageing; wearable technologies; caring; carers; Age UK Milton Keynes; Carers MK
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Health and Wellbeing PRA (Priority Research Area)
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Item ID: 55887
Depositing User: Shailey Minocha
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2018 09:39
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 08:17
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