Developing an app based ‘transition service’ to help people prepare for and better navigate significant transitions in later life.
About the project
For 18 months, East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and Plymouth University have collaborated on the Healthy Ageing and Innovation in Rural Europe (HAIRE) project. Our research with people aged 60+ found that significant changes in older people’s lives — transitions — can have a significant impact on their immediate/future health and wellbeing. Such transitions include retiring, moving home, experiencing significant changes in health/mobility, becoming a carer, and bereavement. Older people commonly found it difficult to prepare for transitions and in some cases actively avoided thinking about them, preferring instead to deal with changes as they unfolded. This can lead to problematic experiences of ageing and to arriving in crises and trying to cope without sufficient resilience, relevant knowledge and skills, and social support, and to relying more heavily on services. In response, we will develop a ‘transition service’ that will help people to prepare for and navigate transitions in later life.
The transition service will combine a digital app with existing/new peer support and wider services as required. The evidence-based app will guide users in understanding, growing, and mobilising their ‘healthy ageing capital’ (HAC) — the personal, social, community-based, and cultural resources required to age well. The app will help individuals to identify and action strategies to grow and use their HAC by guiding them through relevant questions and reflective prompts. The app would be self-administered, or if individuals prefer (or if the app recognised assistance may be required), volunteer support will be available to guide individuals through their HAC assessment, reflection and action planning. The app/volunteer support will include detailed knowledge of the service/support landscape and be able to make connections to suggested/selected strategies/support. Volunteer training will be developed and will include strategies for developing volunteers who have relevant lived experience. This will include training volunteers within local organisations, thus adding to local capacity and helping to locally embed the service. The transition service will therefore be fully integrated into the service/support landscape.
Our project contributes to a number of the Healthy Ageing Challenge themes directly, and indirectly to them all. Directly, it will help people manage the common complaints/experiences of ageing and later life, and build supportive social connections. Indirectly, it will help people build the personal and social resources, skills, knowledge, resilience and reflexive capacity to better navigate the other healthy ageing challenges. The project will be led by ESCC and delivered in partnership with Plymouth University.