At the University of Strathclyde we are committed to ageing-related research. An overview of our University-wide research studies, which use a variety of approaches, along with contact details of the lead researchers can be viewed below:

Overview of Research

This research forms part of a broader project on “Transformative Servicescapes.“ It is situated within the area of Transformative Service Research (TSR), a relatively new multidisciplinary research stream that explores the relationship between service and well-being and aims to generate positive impacts at individual and societal levels. The research prioritises the emplaced nature of transformative service delivery and explores how well-being is enacted through the construction of the physical space.

Drawing on a case study methodology, the project is exploring a non-profit community space and specifically how it generates transformative value for users. The research sample is broad but some of the emerging findings are particularly relevant to ageing and older adults (the study primarily involves women).

The following themes in  findings relate to issues of empowerment, access, and inclusion for older adults:

  • Intergenerational space: the benefits of an “ageless space” where younger and older adults can co-exist, share experiences and learn from each other.
  • The value of community spaces in adding structure and purpose to retirement. Reciprocity is key here: older adults gain value from these spaces (e.g. sociality, overcoming loneliness) but also contribute value (e.g. volunteering and skills).
  • History-making: our case-study is strongly linked to culture and heritage and findings reveal the importance of capturing older adults’ voices in order to pass on their “collective wisdom.”
  • Kindness: organisations that display kindness are highly appreciated. We find examples of this in person but also attempts to extend this beyond the space during the covid-19 pandemic.

Funding body

Leverhulme Trust

Project Dates

1/04/2021 for 18 months (with possible extension due to Covid-19)

Faculty & department

Interdisciplinary project involving staff from Strathclyde Business School (Department of Marketing) and HASS

Participating researchers

Dr Holly Porteous, Research Associate

Grant holders:Prof Kathy Hamilton, Dr Juliette Wilson and Dr Sarah Edwards.

Contact details

kathy.hamilton@strath.ac.uk

 

 

 

Overview of Research

Older people with visual or hearing impairments are more likely to be taking more than one medication and live alone and are therefore at risk of medication problems.

Difficulties with medication can include problems identifying similar-looking pills, reading labels and information sheets or mis-hearing information provided by health professionals.

The project will:

  • Convene a Project Advisory Group of individuals, including older people with sensory impairment, to work together to derive specifications for desirable characteristics for new products which might assist in the use of medicines
  • Review technology which is or could be used by older people with sensory impairment to safely and effectively manage their use of medicine
  • Develop educational materials for health and social care providers involved with medicines management for older people with sensory impairment.

Funding body

Dunhill Medical Trust

Faculty & department

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Participating researchers

Professor Margaret Watson, Peter Fuzesi , Kirsten Broadfoot

(University of Strathclyde)

Professor Annetta Smith and Dr Leah Macaden

(University of Highlands and Islands)

The Research Institute for the Care of Older People

Relevant links

Read a recent Strathclyde News article profiling this research project

Contact details

Professor Margaret Watson: margaret.watson@strath.ac.uk

 

Overview of Research

Prolonged sedentary behaviour (SB) is a major and growing public health concern, but its role specifically in relation to bone loss and osteoporosis is not known. We know that in extreme environments (e.g. total bed rest) bone loss is remarkably high.

In everyday life such long periods of immobility are rare, however modern society promotes sedentary lifestyles during transport, work and leisure.

Population studies show that self reported sedentary behaviour throughout the day is as much as 6-8 hours, and this increases to 8-10 hours in older adults.

We were the first to show that this type of behaviour might have an adverse effect on women’s hip bone mineral density.

We now wish to test this further and see if extended periods of sitting in a controlled laboratory setting lead to increased bone loss (looking at changes in blood bone markers) and whether breaking up SB has the reverse (beneficial) effect. 

To test this we will use data and blood samples already collected, but not analysed, in previous SB studies by our group. The findings will have the potential to inform and shape future public health policy and physical activity guidelines aimed to improve bone health.

Funding body

Royal Osteoporosis Society

Faculty & department

Physical Activity for Health, School of Psychological Sciences & Health, HaSS

Participating researchers

University of Strathclyde: Dr Mavroeidi (Prinical Investigator), Dr McMichan

Glasgow Caledonian University: Prof Skelton, Prof Chastin

University of Birmingham: Dr Greig, Dr Agyapong-Badu

University of East Anglia: Prof Fraser, Dr Tang

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australia: Prof Dunstan, Prof Owen

Relevant links

Read a recent Strathclyde News article profiling this research project

Contact details

Dr Alexandra Mavroeidi: alexandra.mavroeidi@strath.ac.uk

 

Overview of Research

The STILL (Stay Totally Active in Later Life) Going Project is looking at what supports healthy ageing and will use the Lifecurve™ App with different groups of people to help identify and test what works to do this. With the global population of people over the age of 60 set to double by 2050 the time is now to help everyone stay as healthy and active as possible throughout life.

The Lifecurve™ is based on a model of compressed functional decline devised by Newcastle University Institute of Ageing and describes the hierarchy of loss of everyday activities – also called activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Put very simply we lose the ability to carry out these everyday activities in a set order.  But we can recover our ability; we can take action to prevent decline and at the least we can stay at our current position for as long as possible.                                                                                                                  

The Lifecurve™ was devised by ADL Smartcare Ltd in an academic industry partnership and lists 15 of these ADLs and IADLs in the order in which we lose the ability to do them independently.  The App was launched in November 2018, is free to use and available on all platforms via a smartphone or tablet which makes it an ideal mechanism for the STILL Going Project to use.

An additional 4 mobility activities have been added to the App to fit with people from mid-life eg 40 years plus.

The STILL Going Project is working with a number of identified partners as well as conducting a population-based study.  People will register on the App, find out where they are on their own Lifecurve™ and then browse the suggested activities which aim to either keep them on their current Lifecurve™ position, or to move them back up through the Lifecurve™ stages. All of the activities within the App have been devised by a range of health professionals and are evidence based – evidence tells us that if you do them, they will help you stay active, healthy and mobile for longer. You can also set your own goals or activities you are interested in.

The Lifecurve™ App then tracks your chosen activities and will send you reminders and notifications to help you keep going.  By choosing to share your information with the STILL Going Project and relevant partner we will be able to see your anonymous information and begin to build a picture and evidence of what works.  In the next stage of the Project we aim to match the Lifecurve™ data with participants health records where they agree to share this information.  All information the Project will have access to will be anonymous – we will not be able to identify anyone from these records.

Funding Body

The project is funded by Scottish Government

Faculty and Department

Biomedical Engineering

Participating Researchers

Philip Rowe, Professor of Rehabilitation Science (Biomedical Engineering)

Susan Kelso, STILL Going Programme Manage (Biomedical Engineering)

Relevant Links

Read more about the ADL Smartcare Ltd Lifecurve™

Find out more about Compression of Functional Decline in this recent journal article

Contact Details

Philip Rowe, Professor of Rehabilitation Science: philip.rowe@strath.ac.uk

Susan Kelso, STILL Going Programme Manager: susan.kelso@strath.ac.uk

 

Title of Research

Supporting active lifestyles through connected glucose and activity monitor technology for people with diabetes

Overview of Research

This project was developed with a view of exploring new opportunities to use technology to support active lifestyles for individuals living with Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a growing global public health problem and involves careful management of blood glucose levels. Leading an active lifestyle is important for successful management of blood glucose and overall diabetes health. This aim of this research is to explore the potential to connect devices monitoring blood glucose levels and physical activity/sedentary behaviour to allow real-time monitoring and notifications and to explore the potential of this connected technology within interventions to support active lifestyles and improve blood glucose control for individuals with diabetes.

Funding Body

  • University of Strathclyde Strategic technology Partnership studentship
  • University of Glasgow Caledonian studentship
  • PAL technologies

Faculty and Department

Physical Activity and Health Research group.

Participating Researchers

Dr Alison Kirk, Dr Allan Hewitt, Ms Katie MacMillan (University of Strathclyde), Dr Sandra MacRury (University of Highlands and Islands), Dr Andrew Collier, Dr Seb Chastin and Mr Aye Paing (University of Glasgow Caledonian).

Contact Details

Alison.kirk@strath.ac.uk

 

Title of Research

Novel directional microphone design for speech enhancement in complex environments.

Overview of Research

In the UK, more than 50% of people over 60 suffer from hearing loss, but only 20% of them actually use hearing aids. Part of this poor take-up is due to issues with current hearing aids, including poor sound quality and poor performance in noisy and complex environments. But one feature of hearing aids that does help people is a "directional microphone", made-up from a combination of digital signal processing and two (at least) separate actual microphones. These can reject noises from the back or the side of the user. They help the user but come with severe problems. They add extra cost, weight, and power requirements. They have to be a certain distance apart, severely constricting the design of the hearing aid as a whole. And, with just two microphones accuracy is quite limited: they can tell whether a sound source is in front or behind, but struggle to detect sounds from below or above, such as echoes in a large room.

Despite remarkable advances in sound analysis in hearing aids, the actual microphone itself has remained essentially unchanged for decades. Here, we aim to solve the problems of current directional technology by instead using a new type of miniature directional microphone, inspired by how some insects tackle the problem of locating sounds. This new device retains its directionality while keeping the miniature dimensions similar to an insect ear. The research project will take the new insect-inspired microphone design and evaluate it as a component for hearing aids. From this initial evaluation, there will be an iterative process of new, improved, designs being simulated, fabricated, lab tested, and then evaluated. The end result will be microphones that can significantly solve the problems faced in hearing aid design.

The primary objective is to create a hearing aid system that can reduce or control unwanted noises, focusing the hearing aid on only the sound arriving from in front of the user. This includes reducing noises not only from behind, but above, below and distant, so for example reducing the problems caused by echoes from floors and ceilings. The research will also look at problems caused by the distance from which a sound emanates, for example how to separate a sound from a loud source far away, like a train or plane, from a quiet sound from nearby, like a human voice. Finally, the new microphones will require new mounting methods in hearing aid devices. The project will investigate using 3D printing techniques to achieve this. This allows the research to consider how to optimise the hearing aid housing so that it works best acoustically in conjunction with the new microphone, and how it might be possible to extend that to produce hearing aids that are personalised for both the user's ear and their user's sense of hearing.

Funding Body

EPSRC

Faculty and Department

Faculty of Engineering
Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering

Participating Researchers

Strathclyde: Dr JFC Windmill, Dr JC Jackson, Dr R Bauer, Prof D Uttamchandani

MRC/CSO Institute of Hearing Research, Glasgow: Prof M Akeroyd, Dr W Whitmer, Dr WO Brimijoin

Relevant Links

Research

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mrcihr/

Contact Details

Dr James Windmill

james.windmill@strath.ac.uk

0141 548 2694

 

Title of a Research

Understanding information needs of people living with dementia.

Overview of Research

This research seeks to understand information needs of people living with dementia and design online services or other technologies that can help them meet those needs. 

Faculty and Department

Faculty of Science, Department of Computer and Information Sciences

Participating Researchers

Dr Diane Pennington, Lecturer in Information Science

Partners include Alzheimer Scotland as well as Sandra Shafii, consultant on technology for dementia care

Relevant Links

https://personal.cis.strath.ac.uk/diane.pennington/

http://www.alzscot.org/assets/0002/0289/Technology_Charter_for_People_with_Dementia_in_Scotland.pdf

Contact Details

diane.pennington@strath.ac.uk

+44 (0)141 548 3900

Title of Research

Advanced technologies to assess and re-educate balance in older adults at risk of falling.

Overview of Research

Falls in elderly are the leading cause of injury. A fall restricts elderly people’s activities of daily living, leading to loss of independence, hospitalization, increased medical costs, and a greater economic burden. Falls prevention programs include exercises which aim to increase muscle strength and balance ability. Otago falls program have been widely adopted due to their cost efficacy and evidence of effectiveness. However, the effectiveness of these interventions is reduced due to the limited amount of challenging balance exercises and lack adherence of the classes. It has been shown that intense balance challenging exercises have benefit on falls risk reduction. Also, purposeful gaming has been showed to aid motivation and adherence.

A balance board has been developed with an integrated virtual reality environment which will constitute a targeted training system for balance in a population of community-dwelling older subjects with a known history of falls.  This stability unit for re-education of older people (SURE) will have the potential to be portable so people will be able to use it in their own homes. We are aiming to engage older adults providing an entertaining environment for balance rehabilitation. This study will be conducted at the Clinical Research Facilities (CRF) at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. For this study we will collaborate with the Community Falls Prevention Team in terms of participants' recruitment.

 The main research questions are the following:

  • Can we confirm that the low cost neurological rehabilitation platform planned is fit for purpose and acceptable to users in a feasibility RCT?
  • Does it lead to greater adherence and motivation to continue participation in falls prevention programs?

Does it lead to better rehabilitation and functional outcome in fallers particularly in resilience to falling?

Funding Body

In collaboration with the Motekforce Link 

Faculty and Department

Engineering Faculty. Biomedical Engineering Department.

Participating Researchers

Supervised By Prof. Philip Rowe: Philip.rowe@strath.ac.uk

Sanne.rolles@strath.ac.uk

Craig.childs@strath.ac.uk

Relevant Links

www.motekforcelink.com

http://www.csp.org.uk/sites/files/csp/secure/falls_prevention_economic_model_august_2016_ab_2.xls

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Factsheets/Later_Life_UK_factsheet.pdf?dtrk=true

https://academic.oup.com/ptj/article/95/5/700/2686424/Does-Perturbation-Based-Balance-Training-Prevent?searchresult

Mancini, M. & Horak, F.B., 2009. The relevance of clinical balance assessment tools to differentiate balance deficits. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 53(2), pp.193–200.

Sherrington, C. et al. (2008). Effective exercise for the prevention of falls: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 56(12), pp. 2234-43. 

Contact Details

Georgia Tarfali

Research Assistant

Department of Biomedical Engineering

University of Strathclyde
Wolfson Centre
106 Rottenrow
Glasgow, G4 0NW

Georgia.tarfali@strath.ac.uk

tel:+44 (0) 141 548 3930

Title of Research

Perspectives on the management of dysphagia and mealtime difficulties.

Overview of Research

Dementia can cause gradual changes to people’s eating, drinking and swallowing abilities as well as their ability to organise and complete mealtimes successfully. This can have implications for health as well as quality of life. The most appropriate management of these issues is still a developing area in speech and language therapy. This research seeks to investigate the practices and perspectives of speech and language therapists, caregivers and other professionals who support people with dementia.

Funding Body

The University of Strathclyde and The Maxwell Bequest.

Faculty & Department

Speech and Language Therapy, Psychological Sciences and Health, HaSS.

Participating Researchers

Aisling Egan, Anja Lowit, Carolyn Allen.

Relevant Links

https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/allied-health-professionals-maximising-physical-wellbeing-what-does-a-speech-and-language-therapist-have-to-do-with-eating-and-drinking/

https://strathsltresearchers.wordpress.com/

Contact Details

aisling.egan@strath.ac.uk

Title of a Research

‘Decommissioned vessels’ — performance management and older workers in technologically-intensive service work

Overview of Research

Despite increasing policy emphasis on developing and retaining an aging workforce, this paper demonstrates employer use of electronic performance monitoring (EPM) as part of performance management which can adversely affect older workers. We focus specifically on the use of EPM which is used to identify a proportion of the workforce as ‘underperformers,’ often referred to as forced distribution rating systems. Evidence is presented from union informants representing employees in two technologically-intensive service sectors: the financial sector and telecommunications. These sectors were among the first to utilize technology in a way which had transformative implications for work processes and people management in white-collar service work. In both sectors and across clerical and engineering work contexts, the data show the use of EPM by managers to guide punitive performance management for sickness absence and perceived reduced capability. Older workers emerge as a vulnerable group, with manager decisions shown to be based on age stereotypes. We argue that increasingly pervasive use of digitized performance monitoring may intensify age discrimination in performance management. 

Faculty and Department

Business School, Department of Human Resource Management

Participating Researchers

  • Professor Phil Taylor
  • Professor Dora Scholarios

Relevant Links

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162514002431

http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/48996/4/ScholariosTaylor_TFSC2014_decommissioned_vessels_performance_

management_and_older_workers.pdf

 Contact Details

phil.taylor@strath.ac.uk

d.scholarios@strath.ac.uk

 

 

Title of Research

Mobile support for older adults and stroke rehabilitation.

Overview of Research

We have two small on going projects on support for stroke rehabilitation and a just completed larger EPSRC project on text entry for older adults:

1) Assisted and Augmented Communication Support for people with complex communication needs post stroke.

2) Rehabilitation support for sit-to-stand therapy post-stroke

3) General mobile support for better text entry focusing on older adults usage of smartphones and tablets.

Funding Body

Stroke Heart and Chest Scotland (2), EPSRC (3) and EPSRC PhD (1)


Project Dates

1,2) ongoing     3) complete 2016

 

Faculty & Department

Computer and Information Sciences and (2) Biomechanical Engineering

 

Participating Researchers

PIs: Mark Dunlop and (2) Andy Kerr

RAs: Andreas Komninos, Emma Nicol, Gennaro Imperatore

 

Relevant Links

mobiquitous.cis.strath.ac.uk

 

Contact Details

mark.dunlop@strath.ac.uk 

Title of Research

Language Production in Parkinson's Disease

Overview of Research

People with Parkinson’s Disease often experience communication difficulties. These difficulties can be with producing the sounds of speech, or may be with aspects of language processing such as finding words and understanding complex sentences.

Many questions remain regarding the language difficulties that individuals with Parkinson’s may experience.

The aim of this research is to find out more about the difficulties individuals with Parkinson’s Disease may have with using language – for example with creating sentences. Particularly, this study aims to find out more about why any such difficulties may be presenting, and how they present in different situations.

Two groups of individuals are involved within the study - one group of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, and one group of individuals without Parkinson’s Disease.

Funding Body

  • University of Strathclyde studentship

Project Dates

October 2015 - October 2018

Faculty and Department

Speech and Language Therapy, School of Psychological Sciences and Health, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS)

Participating Researchers

Rebecca Wagstaff (University of Strathclyde)

Supervisors: Professor Anja Lowit (Speech and Language Therapy), Dr Louise Brown (Psychology) and Dr Anja Kuschmann (Speech and Language Therapy)

Contact Details

Rebecca.wagstaff@strath.ac.uk

0141 548 4393

 

Title of Research

A school-based intergenerational engagement intervention for enhanced cognitive, health and social outcomes in community-residing older adults

Overview of Research

The population of people aged 60 and over will soon outnumber children younger than 5 years (WHO, 2015). The increasing numbers of adults reaching old age constitutes one of the significant societal successes, but it also leads to a new challenge such as the growing need for the maintenance of social roles of the elderly. Thus, according to the World Health Organisation (2015), it is essential to maintain functional ability in aging population by creating opportunities for older people to participate and contribute to their communities. An intergenerational programme can be one of the possible solutions for new social requirements.

An increasing number of studies, which aimed to implement and evaluate various intergenerational programmes, indicated positive impact of the cross-age engagement on both older adults and younger generations. However, to date, there is no empirical translation of intergenerational intervention in school-based settings in Scotland. Therefore, this project aims to develop, implement and test the efficacy of an evidence-based intergenerational engagement programme (i.e., randomised controlled trial) in Scottish schools during 2018-2019. Our key objective is to establish the wider benefits of the intervention, by measuring a range of social and health outcomes, in addition to measures from a comprehensive cognitive test battery.

Funding Body

  • University of Strathclyde Research Excellence Award

Faculty and Department

School of Psychological Sciences and Health, HASS

Participating Researchers

Anna Krzeczkowska (PhD research student)

Supervisors: Dr Louise Brown Nicholls, Dr William McGeown and Dr Alan Gow (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh)

Contact Details

Dr Louise Brown Nicholls l.nicholls@strath.ac.uk

Ms Anna Krzeczkowska anna.krzeczkowska@strath.ac.uk

 

Title of Research

Shifting paradigms for dementia: Involving people living with dementia across research, policy and practice

Overview of Research

The goal of the programme is to shift paradigmswithin dementia, by challenging current thinking and practice through interdisciplinary collaboration and the participation of people with dementia. We intend to actively explore ways of enabling people with dementia to exercise greater control over their lives, have a voice within their communities and remain socially, politically, physically and culturally active following a diagnosis of dementia. The programme addresses a key policy challenge both for Scotland and internationally, of supporting a rapidly growing population of people living with dementia in a context of political and economic uncertainty and significant spending restraints within health and social care and the wider public sector. We will take an innovative approach to knowledge exchange by exploring and piloting dementia-accessible approaches for sharing ideas, expertise and experience. This will involve people with dementia leading activities and discussion through creative and ‘hands-on’ engagement with the environment, the arts and technology. We will build an interdisciplinary network and will forge knowledge partnerships between communities and universities as a route to sustainable, evidence-informed community development beyond the life of the programme. We will record our piloted methods, appraising their strengths and limitations, and sharing widely through the programme website.

Funding Body

Scottish Universities Insight Institute

Faculty and Department

Faculty of Science, Department of Computer and Information Sciences

Participating Researchers

Dr Dianne Pennington, CIS, University of Strathclyde, Dr Grant Gibson, University of Stirling, Dr Richard Ward, University of Stirling, Sue Northrop, Dementia Friendly East Lothian

Relevant Links

https://www.scottishinsight.ac.uk/Programmes/OpenCall201718/Shiftingparadigmsfordementia.aspx

Contact Details

diane.pennington@strath.ac.uk

 

 

 

Title of Research

Improving older adults’ vaccination uptake

Overview of Research

In Scotland, older adults (aged 65+) are offered flu, pneumococcal, and shingles vaccinations via the NHS. These vaccinations prevent illness and life-threatening complications in older adults, but uptake is low and decreasing. Our future research will identify the reasons for this, so that we can design interventions to increase vaccination coverage and improve older adults’ health. However, existing measures of vaccine hesitancy, measuring barriers to vaccination, were developed with younger adults. Before future use, we therefore first need to ensure that these measures are valid and reliable in older adults and, if not, develop them for this population.

Funding Body

Chief Scientist Office

Project dates

February 2020 - August 2020

Faculty and Department

School of Psychological Sciences & Health

Participating Researchers

Dr Lynn Williams, Dr Louise Brown Nicholls, Dr Susan Rasmussen, Dr Nicola Cogan, Dr David Young, Ms Allyson Gallant

Contact Details

lynn.williams@strath.ac.uk