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Signpost to Health Study: Targeting Pre-frail Older Adults with Physical Activity Intervention

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Signpost to Health Study: Targeting Pre-frail Older Adults with Physical Activity Intervention

A new paper published in BMC Geriatrics reports on initial intervention development targeting pre-frail older adults.  The Signpost to Health study, led by Dr Annemarie Money in the Healthy Ageing theme of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), is a behaviour change intervention aimed at pre-frail older adults, which would signpost them to group-based physical activity classes known to be effective for delaying or slowing frailty.


Frailty is a medical condition common in older adults characterised by diminished strength and reduced physiologic function in which individuals are more vulnerable to multiple adverse health outcomes. Pre-frailty is an intermediate stage associated with some minor health outcomes. However, the main risk is progression toward moderate/severe frailty. Evidence shows physical activity interventions to be effective in slowing or modifying the progression of frailty.


In-depth qualitative work with key stakeholders who would be involved in the intervention (older adults and a range of health and exercise professionals) were undertaken. The research aimed to explore the practicality of taking forward such an intervention and identifying uncertainties to be explored in the feasibility stage.


Nine key themes were identified, with key issues related to physical activity messaging, the use of the term ‘frail’, how to identify and recruit pre-frail older adults, and the acceptability of behaviour change techniques being proposed.


Lead author Dr Annemarie Money (Research Fellow, University of Manchester and NIHR ARC-GM) said:


“There was overwhelming support for a proactive approach to addressing issues around frailty and pre-frailty. Given that a large proportion of older adults are estimated to be pre-frail, interventions aimed at this group have the potential to support healthy ageing, positively impacting on frailty outcomes and providing wider population health benefits. Efforts to secure funding to continue to develop and feasibility test this intervention are ongoing”.


Read the paper in full here.


Published 19/12/2023

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