Many older people suffer from deficits in nutritional and physical activity status, two mutually interacting elements that often go unrecognised for a long time in standard health care. Interventions such as physical and/or nutritional therapies often only take effect when deficits have already manifested themselves; moreover, physical training of older people is rarely coordinated with nutritional therapy interventions and psychological models for the sustainability of behavioural change are rarely taken into account. A good nutritional and physical activity status is the basis for the prevention of falls, which often leads to the need for care or a reduced quality of life. An addition to standard care therefore appears to be useful to make it easier for older adults to optimise their nutrition and physical activity behaviour or to stabilise it at a good level.
In the "AS-Tra" project, a technical assistance system is being developed and evaluated with the help of a user-centred approach involving older people aged 70 and over. The system offers possibilities for independent exercise and nutrition testing and thus for early detection of possible risks through two elements: a tablet-based app and an assessment and training station for independent use. The personalised intervention promotes healthy eating and physical activity behaviour by taking into account the Transtheoretical Model of Behaviour Change by DiClemente and Prochaska, in which the content is adapted to the needs and goals of the senior citizens.
The project "AS-Tra" is divided into three sub-studies:
First, the measurement and training station as well as the tablet-based app are to be developed or completed. In order to achieve a high level of usability and to align the development with the needs of the target group, senior citizens will be involved in the development in the form of focus group discussions and piloted usage studies.
In the third sub-study, the optimised assistance system is used by the target group for 12 weeks in a two-armed randomised controlled survey. Possible sustainable behavioural changes of the elderly as well as effects on the nutritional and physical activity status of the intervention group vs. a control group receiving standard care will be recorded. The plan to test the assistance system in the long term will also provide valuable insights into the barriers older people face when using modern technology.
Throughout the project, possible approaches for the implementation of technical assistance in the health care of seniors will be discussed with relevant stakeholders from the health care sector in regular workshops. This is to ensure that the assistance system can be integrated into the existing health care system in the best possible way and that it is also considered useful and suitable for use by experts in geriatrics, nutrition and physiotherapy, for example.