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Supporting self-determined living in old age – FRAIL featured in EIT Health IDOP’s campaign

Healthy ageing is a central part of EIT Health’s goals and UN’s Day of Older Persons is a great opportunity to highlight EIT Health solutions for healthy and active ageing. Meet project FRAIL.

The United Nations International Day of Older Persons 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the designation of this special day for global senior citizens, serving as a reminder for the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world. Over the next three decades, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050.

Living independently and remaining an active actor in society is very important for older people, but as their health is deteriorating, it becomes a challenge to keep the status quo. One of the aging-related side effects is frailty. As a common clinical syndrome in older adults, frailty carries an increased risk for poor health outcomes including falls, incident disability, and hospitalization. As more than 20 percent of the world’s population will be aged over 60 years by 2050, the number of people diagnosed with frailty is projected to increase, pointing to the need for an urgent solution.

Keeping in line with its focus, EIT Health has supported an international project, FRAIL – Frailty assessment in daily living.

The aim of the project is the development of a smartwatch app to detect and monitor frailty amongst elderly people. The app will be deployed as a new key feature of LOLA, an existing health-monitoring and fall detection app for the elderly. FRAIL’s frailty assessment feature, tested in multicentered international pilot studies of participants affected by different degrees of frailty, will monitor three key parameters:

  • Fall detection and prevention: A large pilot study with frail elderly individuals who have a high risk of falling will be used to make significant improvements in algorithms for the detection of the risk of falls.
  • Physical activity indicators for frailty: The frailty assessment will include other physical activity indicators outside of fall risk, and it will facilitate transferring detection of these indicators from a waist-worn device to a smartwatch device using the LOLA app.
  • Frailty detection in activities of daily living: TUM will provide specific parameters for assessing frailty in daily activities using the LOLA app.

For movement scientists, wearables open the lab to the world. FRAIL builds on these new opportunities to support self-determined living in old age.” – Chair. Prof. Dr. Joachim Hermsdörfer, Project Manager

The FRAIL solution will help seniors by directly support the prevention of frailty and its negative impact on their quality of life. It is expected that the app will engage thousands of European elderly citizens in protecting their health, increasing autonomy and bringing higher quality of life to them and their relatives. By helping keep seniors active and healthy for longer, it can provide benefits for caregivers, payers and healthcare systems.

FRAIL is an international project lead by experts in rehabilitation research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany. The team’s specialist in digital health solution is the start-up Qolware, from Germany. CapDigital, from France, contributes to business development in the digital ecosystem. MADoPA, from France, evaluates health, and independent living solutions. IMEC, of Belgium, provides expert knowledge on data-analytics and performance measurement.

For more information please visit the project’s website.