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Accelerator: Workshop 2 Report from Table 2 – Stubbornness versus Independence Lead: Simon Green

Posted by Anja McCarthy (Admin) 1 month ago Posted in Innovation for Ageing Workshops


How might we delay functional decline by ensuring people continue to carry out challenging tasks as they age?


11 people joined the discussion, representing small company, corporate, university and local authority perspectives as well as individuals with an interest in the subject.


Using LifeCurve as a basis, we considered barriers that discourage people from continuing to perform tasks that are within their capacity, but they might find difficult. Barriers identified included:

  • Awareness of importance of continuing to carry out tasks independently for future health
  • Lack of confidence in carrying out task/fear of failure or of causing harm
  • Families/carers carrying out tasks because they see it as too difficult/too time consuming for individual
  • Lack of motivation/rewards
  • Lack of meaning to activity; why bother?
  • Poor design making task more difficult
  • Living in an unsuitable environment
  • Lack of support/encouragement
  • Social pressures (e.g. traditional roles at home)
  • Financial/geographic limitations
  • Poor communication with families/carers


Given these barriers, we looked at types of interventions that might help, before exploring specific ideas.



Possible interventions

Low awareness

Communication of LifeCurve findings

Early intervention (in 20s/30s/40s) in preparation for later years

Resources targeted at families/carers

Lack of confidence

Tools to help benchmark capacity

Grouping tasks into strength, fitness, function required to guide individual

Mentoring, advice

Support for families/carers to better understand individual capacity

Others carrying out task instead

Resources targeted at families/carers

Allowing time for individual to complete tasks

Lack of motivation/rewards

Peer group encouragement

Meaningful (to individual) rewards

Consideration of individual motivations

Engagement with peer groups

Lack of meaning

Engagement with peer groups

Encouragement of engagement with work/volunteering/social activities

Availability of local facilities

Poor design/unsuitable environment

Consider design in personal items, home and wider environment

Lack of support/encouragement

Mentoring, advice

Support for families/carers to better understand individual’s capacity and importance of independence

Engagement with peer groups

Social pressures

Considering expectations and roles in delivering services

Take time to understand individual and their motivations

Financial/geographic limitations

Availability of local facilities

Consideration of transport implications

Consider costs in design of products/services

Poor communication

Provide tools for communication of individual needs

Consider impact of cognitive decline and social norms on communication


The final part of the workshop was focused on ideation. The ideas that attracted most interest from the group were:


“Cook with me” – a videoconference platform where individuals in their own kitchens cook a meal with others online, providing social interaction whilst encouraging healthy eating


Recruitment/temporary staff agency focused on older workers; potential extension is a platform to connect retired individuals with volunteering opportunities


Intergenerational activities, such as living accommodation including different age groups and platforms allowing the experience of older people to be shared with others


Co-housing as a choice between totally independent living and residential care


A mentoring/coaching/counselling service for older people


Virtual/augmented reality allowing individuals to explore capacity to undertake tasks they are afraid of trying


Tools to adapt the difficulty of a task to individual capacity, ensuring tasks are challenging enough to remain fit but don’t risk injury


Provision of spaces for social interaction that aren’t solely focused on drinking (not just an age-specific opportunity?)


Design of new products with a consideration of needs of an ageing population, particularly in the kitchen and clothing (flexible room layouts? Redesign of street environments?)


Gamification and reward schemes to encourage individuals to continue with challenging tasks and create role models


Local facilities for shopping and social interaction


Communication tools for families and carers to better understand individual needs

This post was edited on Jan 25, 2019 by Anja McCarthy

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