A team at the University of Manchester has developed a free app, Keep-On-Keep-Up, aiming to reduce the risk of physical deterioration and falls in older people self-isolation during the lockdown.
Falls cost the NHS over two-point-three billion pounds annually and are the main cause of unintentional death in older adults, with half of the people over the age of eighty and one-third of people over the age of sixty-five falling at least once a year.
“The University of Manchester develops Keep-On-Keep-Up.“
The app uses an animated in-app trainer called Wilf to provide balance and personalised strength exercises. Also, it uses health literacy games to outline the importance of hydration, ways to improve bone health, as well as to increase awareness of safety at home.
Dr Emma Stanmore, a Principle investigator from the Healthy Ageing Research Group, University of Manchester, stated: “COVID-19 has confined many of the twelve million older adults aged sixty-five and above in the UK to their homes for a long period of time. Because many are already housebound and frail, they may have already been at risk of decline. This increased sedentary behaviour can lead to impaired mobility, muscle deconditioning and poor balance which can increase falls and have a negative impact on physical and mental health. KOKU is an evidence based gamified app designed to help improve strength, balance and optimise healthy ageing, of particular use during the COVID-19 pandemic in a fun and interactive way. It is designed to be used independently by older adults and based on best evidence for maintaining function and reducing falls. But it also includes health literacy games to increase awareness of home safety, importance of hydration and ways to improve bone health and nutrition. It’s particularly relevant for older adults concerned about their risk of physical decline and wanting to remain independent at home, but it’s also helpful for care home staff looking for interactive ways to engage older residents with simple, or people concerned about ageing relatives or friends who may be at risk of falls or frailty.”