According to a new survey by Age Scotland released this week, older people are in danger of losing the ability to do daily tasks because of the pandemic. This had led to concerns that the restrictions could have a serious impact on our health over the next few years. Tens of thousands of older people could be experiencing “deconditioning” – declining physical fitness caused by lack of activity and spending long periods of time sitting. This can lead to a loss of muscle strength, balance, flexibility and overall mobility, which can leave people more vulnerable to falls, more likely to become frail and therefore likely to require social care support in the years to come.
According to the survey, two thirds of people over 50 say they are now less active than they were before the pandemic. About half fear that spending so much time at home has led to a loss of strength and mobility. Age Scotland are also reporting that almost half of the 3,000 people who responded to their survey had reduced their social interactions significantly, and 53% of respondents stated that the pandemic had made them feel lonelier.
This survey is in line with an Observatory for Sport in Scotland Survey published on the 6th of June that reported In total, 47 per cent of the adult (18 years plus) population of Scotland (just over two million people) felt that their participation in sport and exercise activity was a lot or a little less over the last 12 months than the equivalent period before Covid-19, with men reporting more of a drop than women. Around 32 per cent reported doing about the same as pre-pandemic and 14 per cent reported doing more activity in the past year. Just over four in 10 people said that they were walking more in their local area during the 12 months of the pandemic compared with the 12 months previously, but his has not compensated for the declines in activity through sport and exercise. To access this report CLICK HERE
Researchers at Strathclyde University who carried out the Age Scotland survey say that after the closure of vital support services during lockdown, it is important that people get back to being physically and socially active as soon as possible, to stop further decline. Older peole need to get back attending groups where they can be physically, mentally, socially active as soon as possible in order to protect both their current and long term health.
One way to combat this deconditioning could be by using an innovative app called LifeCurve, developed by researchers at Strathclyde and Newcastle University, It’s based on research that found that we lose the ability to do things in a particular order as we age. The good news though that the types of loss and speed of loss is not set in stone at a particular age. We can improve our position by staying physically active and keeping up with regular daily tasks. This can slow the ageing process and help us to live a healthy, independent life for longer. People often assume that as they get older it is inevitable that they will stop being able to do the everyday activities that are important to them. This is not the case.
The app aims to provide evidence-based information and advice that can help people have a better ageing journey.
To find out more about the project from the which the App was developed go to https://stillgoingproject.co.uk/
To download the App go to The Life Curve App