A Midlands organisation has been chosen to take part in a £3 million research project examining how cutting edge technologies can improve the mental health, activity levels and nutrition of older people.
The Accord Group is one of just two UK organisations, alongside The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, to be picked to take part in the three-year European Commission-funded project.
It will work with older people with mild cognitive impairment, malnutrition and sedentariness to research useful technical tools that could support older people to live active and healthy lives.
Common symptoms of mild cognitive decline include memory loss, language problems and changes in personality and mood. It can also affect a person’s relationship with food and eating, causing loss of appetite, malnutrition or overeating.
Tools that will be examined as part of the research include games designed to stimulate people to be physically and mentally active and enable interaction with family, friends and other people.
Rachael Dutton, Head of Research and Intelligence at the Accord Group, said: “The toxic combination of an unhealthy diet, inactivity and cognitive decline can dramatically impact an older person’s health and well-being.
“Research suggests that abnormal dietary habits as you grow older, such as overeating and malnutrition, are tightly linked to the progressive impairment of cardiovascular function.
“This important project will explore what tools are currently available to tackle these issues and their impact on improving the health and well-being and older people.”
Shirley Hall, Well-being and Community Manager for The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, said: “We are really pleased that Accord Group and The ExtraCare Charitable Trust are working on this pioneering project.
“Supporting people with any mental health issues or concerns is at the heart of what we do. We know that diet, healthy eating and physical activity also help keep the mind and the body healthy and well.
“We are delighted that this piece of work focusses on these three aspects and hope the findings will not only help our residents, but older people in the wider community.”
Co-ordinated by the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), the DOREMI (Decrease of cOgnitive decline, malnutrRtion and sedEntariness by elderly empowerment in lifestyle Management and social Inclusion) project, will work with residents from the two housing associations in the UK and from one in Italy.
The Accord Group is one of the largest not-for-profit housing and health and social care providers in the Midlands, providing more than 13,000 homes and services to 80,000 people.
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust enables older people to enjoy a healthier, active and more independent lifestyle in a network of 31 inspirational retirement villages and housing schemes.