Healthy Ageing Podcast Series - Age Innovators

Posted on: 19/02/2024

In this new podcast series, Age Innovators, we meet researchers and innovators whose work has the potential to support us as we age. Brought to you by the Healthy Ageing Challenge Community of Practice and hosted by Innovate UK, this series spotlights the pioneering innovations being developed to shape the future of our longevity and explores the inspiration behind the work that’s currently taking place.

Listen to the most recent episode below.

Episode 4 – Activating Our Ageing Population
Episode 3 – The Medicine Of Cricket
Episode 2 – Supporting Healthy Ageing At Work
Episode 1 – The Language of Care

Episode 4- Activating Our Ageing Population

How can technology and innovation support us as we age? And how on earth might they make someone’s kitchen bigger? In this episode of The Age Innovators, host Julia Glenn, Design Innovation Lead from the Innovate UK Healthy Ageing Challenge, talks to John Hymus, MD of Innerva – the healthy ageing, therapy, and rehabilitation solution, to explore these questions and more.

Bringing intelligent technology into the care market Innerva is a UK-based designer and manufacturer of power-assisted exercise and wellbeing equipment, which provides a ‘helping hand’ in a low impact, full-body workout circuit for exercisers who demand to work smart and effectively.

Innerva users include the over 65s and people living with disabilities, those with poor mobility, people with long-term health conditions and those in need of rehabilitation therapies.

Join Julia and John as they discuss how Innerva’s exercise equipment works, the benefits of isokinetic strength training in rehabilitation, and the company’s mission to promote healthy and active aging. John will walk you through the practical aspects, providing insights into how Innerva aims to help people improve their daily movement.

Learn how digitising exercise equipment is enabling data capture and gamification, the importance of co-design and testing the user experience in live environments, and why the Innerva team is continually iterating to produce equipment that’s both engaging and effective.

John also reveals the five elements of healthy ageing, the research methodologies encouraging a community of people to exercise together, and the power of social wellbeing to combat loneliness and drive behaviour change. Oh, and he reveals the secret to the expanding kitchen too.

Click here to download the episode transcript.

You can also watch the podcast as a video on YouTube.

About the series

UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge, delivered by Innovate UK and ESRC, was set up to help address one of the biggest challenges and opportunities we face today, an ageing population. While we may be living longer, we are not necessarily living in health and ultimately this affects all aspects of life, not just for individuals but for society and the economy too.

By catalysing the growing healthy ageing sector and providing £98 million of investment into research and innovation our aim is to transform the lives of millions with a decade. A key to achieving this is the investment and support we have provided to over 240 projects working across multiple disciplines, industries and sectors. Stimulating the development and scale of innovative products and services needed to ensure older people can remain active, productive, independent, and socially connected across generations for as long as possible.

This series introduces you to specialist innovators sharing not just best practice and lessons learned in key areas, including Care, Work and Staying Active, but their personal thoughts and stories. Journeys that show how academic researchers and business entrepreneurs alike are already delivering impact and benefiting the lives of so many across the UK.

Listen to previous episodes below.

Episode 3 - The Medicine of Cricket

Can sport break down the barriers around ethnicity, age, and gender? In this, the third episode of Age Innovators, host Helen Crampin, Innovation and Technology Lead from the Innovate UK Healthy Ageing Challenge, talks to Alosh K Jose, co-founder and CEO of Newcastle-based Cricketqube, to explore this question and more.  

Cricketqube is an evidence- and data-backed Community Interest Company. The company’s aim is to make cricket accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. Founders Anish John— a former international indoor cricketer who has represented India at the senior level—and former schools cricketer, Alosh K Jose, identified that the older South Asian members of their local community in Newcastle lacked access to accessible—and affordableactivities that could maintain and increase their health and fitness.  

“When there is a financial crisis, paying for physical activity is one of the first things to be cut. The South Asian community in the UK, especially Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, have the lowest median income across any ethnic group in the UK, so paying for activities is out of the question.” – Alosh K Jose, co-founder and CEO of Cricketqube 

With their understanding of the different cultural nuances, religious sentiments, and connections within the wider South Asian community, Cricketqube has tailored an innovative programme thats successfully encouraging their target audience to participate in games of cricket as a way to stay fit and well. 

 I wanted to democratise access to cricket and make sure anyone who wants to can play, whether theyve got access to a club or dont have the hundreds of pounds you need to buy the kit. – Alosh K Jose, co-founder and CEO of Cricketqube 

  • Discover how Alosh and Anish’s approach has managed to change people’s perceptions and behaviours within the South Asian community.  
  • Listen to how they’ve nurtured a growing community space where people of all ages and from all religions and subcultures are sharing skills, sharing food, and making new friends and connections.  
  • And learn how evidence and data from the project and its resulting collaborations are driving new and similar projects—including the development of an app—to ensure exercise and activity is accessible and available to minority communities across the UK. 

Click here to download the transcript.

You can also watch the podcast as a video on YouTube.

Episode 2 - Supporting Healthy Ageing At Work

In today’s older workforce, the fact that one in three people is aged 50 or over poses myriad issues for our economy, social wellbeing, and our health and wellbeing. With around 20% of people in their fifties retiring before they choose to because of health issues, this episode of The Age Innovators explores whether a deeper understanding and the provision of more practical and relevant support could help to change that statistic.

Our host Elaine Douglas, Associate Professor in Ageing at the University of Stirling, talks to Wendy Loretto, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Dr Belinda Steffan, Senior Research Fellow both from the SHAW project at the University of Edinburgh Business School (UEBS) and to Mike Douglas, Director of Age Scotland.

The SHAW project (Supporting Healthy Ageing at Work) at UEBS is exploring how we might extend healthy ageing in the workplace so that workers have a high quality of working life for longer. The project is inviting employers, employees, professional bodies, and other key stakeholders to come together with the aim of deepening our understanding of how best to support, enable, and empower people over 50 to remain in work.

We hear how the project’s research into the impact of hidden health issues like the muscular skeletal impact of sedentary work, cognitive ageing and decline, and menopause is leading to the development of practical help, including:

  • The launch of a new research-based app with an AI chatbot interface that will give the over-50s a better understanding of their health and empower employees to ask for the support they need from their managers.
  • A co-designed diagnostic menopause support tool which aims to reduce the number of women leaving work due to challenging menopause symptoms and improve workplace culture around menopause awareness.

“The first thing that comes to my mind when imagining the ideal future workplace for an older worker? More individualised support to support a range of both visible and hidden health factors—and a reduction in the tension around discussing heath issues and the removal of taboo and stigma as we increase awareness.” – Belinda Steffan, Senior Research Fellow at The University of Edinburgh Business School

You’ll discover how the provision of a safe platform can be the key to unlocking powerful conversations in the workplace around sensitive or taboo issues. Learn how the ongoing research has already identified the important role line managers can play in supporting people’s health. And find out how a training course developed by Age Scotland is upskilling employers to have the conversations needed to create more inclusive and supportive workplace cultures.

The team’s person-centric approach is breaking down barriers and beginning to transform older people’s experiences at work for the better, enabling people to better understand—and communicate—their health support needs.

We’re all different, and those differences become more apparent as we age. Whether that’s the state of our health, our life circumstances, and how and when we choose to retire. We all have a role to play in challenging the myth of the ideal worker who’s always in peak health and is always productive. When it comes to policy, we need to move the conversation forward so we can accept people as they are and empower them to ask for the help they need to feel supported at work.” – Wendy Loretto, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at The University of Edinburgh

Click here to download the transcript.

You can also watch the podcast as a video on YouTube.

Episode 1 - Language of Care

Can we harness advances in innovation and technology and use them to support the needs of an ageing population? In episode 1 of Age Innovators, host Julia Glenn, former Innovate UK Design Innovation Lead for the UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge, talks to Toby Venning and Caleb Adamu, co-founders of care coordination platform, Elate, to explore this question and more.

Bringing intelligent technology into the care market

Developed by Cross Digital Ltd, Elate is an app that aims to help older people and their families navigate the complex world of care in all its forms using technology.

Elate’s co-founders, Toby Venning and Caleb Adamu, have applied co-design principles and the Design Council’s double diamond methodology to develop the app’s intelligent technology which meets the specific and evolving needs of the care sector.

“The catalyst for the project was listening to my own parents struggling to look after both sets of their own parents. Trying to understand their different needs, trying to work out the right care path, understanding the nuances of domestic and domiciliary care—and trying to do all that from a distance.” – Toby Venning, Elate co-founder and CEO

The language of care

Working with four user groups, including care providers, paid and unpaid care workers, people in need of care, and those peoples’ families and friends, Elate’s mission is to empower people to live with grace, joy, and dignity.

This is evident in their use of the Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver stages of the double diamond. And their iterative approach has seen the adaptation of users’ language to ensure product specifications are accessible and fit for purpose.

The Elate app enables people to be proactive and design their own care pathway. It frees carers from repetitive paperwork. And enables carers to interact more with the person in their care.

“Improving the welfare of carers is very much at the forefront of what we’re trying to do—making their lives easier in terms of support with planning, assessments, and finding recommendations that best suit the end user’s needs.” – Caleb Adamu, elate co-founder and CTO

Discover how the sensitivity of Elate’s approach to technological innovation is helping people navigate the different types of care available for family members, and how their co-design process is working to promote both the needs of the person needing care—and their carers—in the care paradigm.

By integrating technology, data, analytics, and user-centered design, Elate is introducing people to personalised technology that’s designed for them and that will design the right sort of care to meet their needs—rather than forcing something to fit.

Click here to download the transcript.

You can also watch the podcast as a video on YouTube.

Read Innovate UK Business Connect’s case study about Elate.

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