Developing actionable research and innovation on dementia and healthy ageing has never been more needed. As a reflection of how important it is globally to make progress in this area, the United Nations has declared 2020 to 2030 as The Decade of Healthy Ageing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines healthy ageing as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”.
The Care Visions Healthy Ageing team are spread around the globe, with our two main bases currently in the UK & China. No other country in the world is experiencing population ageing on the same scale as China. The United Nations predicts there will be 366 million older Chinese adults by 2050, which is substantially larger than the current US population of 331 million. While life expectancy in China is increasing, older adults may spend more of their advanced years in poor health and with disabilities. The primary source of care for older adults is families but China's rapid economic development has separated millions of older adults from their children, which has contributed to an increasing demand for community-based health care. It's these demographic and socioeconomic changes that raise important questions for researchers and policymakers. Creating a base in China accelerated how we developed research and innovation and turned it into actionable solutions.
We follow a systematic process, designing programmes based on evidence, to ensure our therapies and activities offer the best possible benefits. The steps in our process are as follows:
Once all the evidence has been mapped, we create structured, information frameworks that support decisions about the most relevant therapies and activities. The goal of creating an evidence framework is to support the development of our multimodal dementia and healthy ageing programmes. This is done by offering various types of therapies, classes and activities with demonstrated benefits, as well as identifying new ways to maintain physical, cognitive and emotional health and wellbeing.
In 2015, our affiliated company, Care Visions China Limited, started delivering multimodal, non-pharmacological intervention programmes to people living with dementia. As part of the development of these programmes, we created a decision-support tool to aid the selection of the most appropriate therapies and activities for them. This is called the Structured Cognitive Intervention Pathway (SCIP). The Pathway was developed with the guidance of Professor James Vickers from the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania. The SCIP has been peer-reviewed by over 100 global experts in dementia and the published paper “A Structured Cognitive Intervention Pathway as a decision-support tool for non-pharmacological interventions within a dementia care service (Innovative practice)” can be read here.
The SCIP used in this paper has since been updated and adapted for the use of both therapists and carers. It allows them to choose the most appropriate therapies and activities for the relevant symptoms and stages of dementia. The SCIP also supports the holistic, person-centred approach used by Care Visions Healthy Ageing to help people engage in our therapeutic programmes in China and the UK. This can also be read about in more detail in some of our published papers, which you can access here. The SCIP has also been integrated into a therapeutic activity app, currently in development, for people and their carers living with dementia.
From the systematic methodology we developed for the SCIP, we were able to apply the same process to develop programmes for healthy ageing. What was encouraging here was that older people, with no dementia, were interested in the group programmes that Care Visions ran in the community. We developed and delivered a programme of multimodal, healthy ageing activity sessions, over a 12-week period, in four different communities in Beijing City. Participation in the programme was associated with objective and subjective improvements in cognition, mood and social contact. Afterwards, 96% of respondents said they felt the activities were beneficial in terms of improvement in cognitive and emotional aspects, while 91% felt the programme was helpful in increasing social contact within the community.
The SCIP concept is also the basis for Goldster, our consumer online healthy ageing platform, now launched in the UK. We already knew from a national poll of adults over 50 that whilst people believe in the benefits of healthy ageing, a key barrier is knowing how to do it. After an extended pilot of Goldster, a poll of users showed very encouraging results:
Overall, our goal is to make non-pharmacological healthcare for dementia and healthy ageing accessible to everybody. We're always looking to provide the insights and understanding that enable people to take charge of their own well-being. We regularly meet with experts at the forefront of research, as well as healthcare professionals and leaders in the development of health. If you're in the industry, we're always keen to get fresh perspectives or share new studies.
To view the insight videos, both our own and those made in conjunction with leading experts, please click here. (Link to videos)
For further reading please click here to view our published papers and case studies.
The full details of insight videos, published papers and references can also be viewed below:
Insights video titles