Technology-based interventions using the example of prevention of functional decline

The effect of primary preventive measures to maintain the well-being and health of older people is undisputed. Likewise, there is no doubt that new technologies such as portable sensors, networked living environments, or personal health devices have great potential for health provision. However, the actual application of these technologies in different target groups is still a major challenge. In the first funding phase, different perspectives were used to investigate how technology-based interventions can be designed in general to maintain independence at age.


The aim of the subproject is to integrate, further develop and test the previous technical, medical and sociological results in order to realize an innovative, technology-based, individualized, long-term intervention for the prevention of functional decline among older adults. For this purpose, technical systems are being developed that enable older people to carry out independent, partially supervised implementation of meaningful physical fitness assessments in controlled environments such as senior citizens' clubs or sports clubs. This will also allow heterogeneous socio-economic groups to access low-threshold access to assess their own physical performance and the risk of functional decline.

Existing contacts and networks in the groups and associations are used to reach older people and to motivate them for assessment and training. The intervention combines the partially-supervised assessment with a home-based exercise program in which unobtrusive interactive components remind of and motivate physical activity.

Results of the first funding phase (2015-2018)

  • Implementation of an interview study to determine user demands on the topics "daily physical activity" and "technology use"
  • Development and implementation of a screening study to determine functional and cognitive decline
  • Development and validation of a measurement system that records the functional tests of the clinical assessment of the screening study via sensing technology
  • Implementation of a diary study to investigate and evaluate physical exercises that can be performed in the home environment
  • Implementation of a long-term study to test ambient and body-worn devices for personal health self-monitoring
  • Development of motivational and reminder technology to support physical activity interventions

Work packages of the second funding phase (2018-2021)

The work program covers the development and evaluation of a technology-based physical activity intervention for older adults. The intervention consists of two components: a) a technology-based, lightweight assessment to monitor physical performance, including the detection of early changes that can be performed periodically in a semi-supervised environment, and b) a home-based exercise program which can easily be integrated in everyday life. It is based on users’ needs and on the assessment's findings, and uses technology-supported unobtrusive reminders and encouragement.

The feasibility of the technology-supported intervention will be tested in a long-term study. At the same time, user needs are identified and the usability of the technology is evaluated taking into account social and gender differences.

Research team

Jochen Meyer, OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology
Prof. Susanne Boll, OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology
Kai von Holdt, OFFIS - Institute for Information Technology
Elke Beck, OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology
PD Dr. Jürgen Bauer
, University Clinic for Geriatric Medicine of Oldenburg
Lena Dasenbrock, University Clinic for Geriatric Medicine of Oldenburg
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Hein, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Dr. Sebastian Fudickar, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Sandra Hellmers, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Dr. Rebecca Diekmann, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Andrea Heinks, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Prof. Dr. Frauke Koppelin, Jade University of Applied Sciences
Alexander Pauls, Jade University of Applied Sciences


Jochen Meyer
Phone: +49 441 9722-185