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Published: 2023-05-03

Cost-effective measures for healthy ageing

NEWS Senior meetings and fall prevention training are examples of proactive measures for healthy ageing, shows a thesis at Umeå University. For fall prevention training, a mobile application is recommended for seniors living at home with good digital skills.

Text: Claes Björnberg

In the first study, the question was broad with the aim of identifying studies of health promotion or preventive measures for seniors, carried out in Nordic countries, with the potential to be introduced in a municipality.

Based on a literature review, the knowledge was summarized on the basis of a series of factors that are relevant for the translation of evidence in practice. The results show a number of promising measures, but lack of studies on cost-effectiveness, participants' experiences and feasibility limit the possibilities of being able to translate the measures from research into practice.

Observational study

The remaining studies are based on an observational study in the municipality of Östersund, where an innovative digital fall prevention intervention was evaluated among seniors living at home aged 70+. The measures included the app Säkra steg, which contains fall prevention exercises, which were supplemented with supportive strategies.

The purpose of the observational study was to investigate the accessibility, the participants' self-perceived effects of the training, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of the one-year trial of the new way of working.

– An extensive recruitment campaign may have increased participation, says Saranda Bajraktari, who is behind the thesis.

Cost savings

The results showed that Säkra steg reached a larger percentage of women and highly educated people who are used to using the internet or applications on their mobile phone or tablet. Säkra steg participants had a higher level of education and lived alone to a greater extent compared to people aged +70 living in Östersund and who answered the public health authority's public health survey. The results from these studies show that Safe Steps is a promising measure to put into practice for positive effects on fall-related risk factors for the elderly. Safe Steps also demonstrated the potential to be a cost-saving measure with better health outcomes and lower costs compared to no measure.

More efforts are needed

The thesis inspires with concrete examples of health promotion and fall prevention measures that can support decision makers in the introduction of proactive measures for seniors. Furthermore, this thesis shows that a variety of interventions, digital and non-digital, are needed to reach more of the general population in need of such measures for healthy aging and to prevent falls among seniors.

Saranda Bajraktari grew up in Deçan, Kosovo. She came to Sweden and Östersund nine years ago to study business administration and then continued to study public health science. She hopes that her research thus far can contribute to healthy aging in seniors, and that she will have the opportunity to continue her career in this field.

About the thesis

Saranda Bajraktari, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, defends her thesis Health-promoting measures for seniors - assessment of relevance, outcomes and health economics for decision-making in a municipal context, Thursday 4 May at 09.00 in Auditorium UB.A.240, Lindellhallen 4. The defense can also be followed remotely via Zoom.