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ACTIVE-AGE@home: a home-based functional exercise program for community-dwelling frail older adults

  • August 30, 2022

Unfortunately, some applied research projects within the biomedical field do not reach the patient due to a lack of industrial interest. The TBM program (Toegepast Biomedisch onderzoek met een primair Maatschappelijke finaliteit) aims to contribute to the development or validation of therapies, diagnostic techniques and/or preventive measures, through the funding of advanced application-driven biomedical research.

In 2022, 54 project propositions were submitted for TBM funding. After evaluation of the FWO expert panel, only 14 projects received funding. 4 of these projects are with VUB as a coordinator or as a partner. We would like to introduce one of these projects to grasp the importance of funding this applied research.

On average people are getting older and the proportion of elderly people in our society is steadily increasing, but not all of them grow old in a healthy way. Some of them are confronted with frailty. They are commonly exposed to a high risk of undesirable health effects like falls, hospitalization, diminished mobility, etc. On top of that frailty also affects healthcare costs. An active lifestyle is an important determinant in growing old in a healthy manner. Therefore the first-choice treatment to tackle frailty is physical activity, unfortunately this is not the preferred choice of the frail themselves.

To tackle this problem a functional training program ACTIVE-AGE@home was developed and piloted based on the British Medical Research Council guidance.  The exercise program is based on activities of daily living and will identify the personal goals of each participant. The current care of frail older people living at home will be compared with two forms of the exercise program, one with professionals and one with volunteers. The ultimate goal of this research project is to improve the lives of frail older adults, help reduce health and social expenditure and allow collaboration in prevention and health-promoting.

This project was granted € 849 994 and will be coordinated by Patricia De Vriendt (Frailty in Ageing-FRIA) together with UZB, UGhent, Odisee, UA and Arteveldehogeschool.