Collaboration with Active Stirling Ltd, Generations Working Together, UK Active and University of Plymouth.
Older people’s ‘connectivities’—their links with community, resources and meaningful activities— are essential to health and well-being. Developing and strengthening these connections are intrinsic to supporting healthy ageing and reducing health inequalities in later life (Hennessy et. al., 2014). Both social connectivity and increasingly, digital connectivity, are pillars of what we here term ‘health connectivity’, or an individual’s links to supports for health and well-being. How we can design, test, deliver and evaluate digital resources for health connectivity in older age is the focus of this proposed research programme. The 3-year project, a collaboration between the Universities of Stirling and Plymouth, will facilitate improvements to the health and well-being of disadvantaged older people, particularly those facing digital inequalities due to physical, cognitive, or geographic barriers exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will do so by enhancing our understanding of health connectivity, and the interaction between the social, behavioural and design aspects of using digital solutions to support physical activity and social engagement with others. Co-production between older people, younger people (intergenerational activities), researchers and businesses will be largely online and will focus on issues such as usability and accessibility of digital means for joint activities, games or discussions (e.g., physical activity and sports reminiscence). This will enable the testing, trialling and implementation of new and existing technologies in rural Cornwall and Scotland, and evaluation of their impact on health connectivity, resulting in more people living independently for longer as well as research and development-led economic growth.