Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
All too often, policy makers consider active ageing as disability prevention and a way to save on health and social care budgets. Such an approach represents older people as a burden for society thus raising the risk of discrimination and so-called "ageism". In this study active ageing is defined as an interplay between ability, activity, ambition and autonomy. Based on this approach a counselling intervention will be developed to promote active ageing with the older people's own activity goals as the starting point. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of individualized counselling on promoting active ageing and wellbeing.
Who can participate?
Older people aged 75, 80 and 85 who live independently in the community in the City of Jyväskylä with moderate levels of physical activity
What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to either the intervention group or the control group. The control group receive written general health information. Over 12 months participants in the intervention group receive individually tailored counselling in a face-to-face session and phone calls. During the face-to-face counselling session, participants are encouraged to set goals according to their interests regarding activities and behaviours that they would like to introduce to or increase in their everyday life. During the follow up phone calls they discuss their progress on achieving their goals, share their successes, failures, and are encouraged to continue their efforts towards active ageing. During the first face-to-face counselling session, an information booklet regarding active ageing activities and behaviours and a Newsletter is given to them. The information booklet includes tips and self-help exercises to be used as an additional support.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participants may benefit from receiving practical information on ways to promote their well-being through active agency based on their goals. By participating in this study, participants help researchers to better understand active aging and well-being and to find ways to promote active aging and well-being. Eventually, this and other studies in this area may provide opportunities to change the recommendations for health promotion of older people and impact policies. The interviews, tests and intervention do not exceed the strain of daily life and no other side effects are expected.
Where is the study run from?
University of Jyväskylä (Finland)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
January 2017 to December 2019
Who is funding the study?
European Research Council
Who is the main contact?
Prof. Taina Rantanen
The European Research Council Grant Agreement 693045 AGNES
The effect of individualized counselling on promoting active ageing and wellbeing
To develop and test feasibility and effectiveness of a multicomponent sustainable individually tailored counselling intervention aiming to promote active ageing in community-dwelling older people. The overall goal of the counseling intervention is to promote active ageing, that is, any participation in valued life activities. Current evidence suggests that physical, social, cultural and generative activities predict more favorable health trajectories among older people. Individualized counselling supporting the autonomy and agency of the participants in striving for their individualized goals will increase active ageing and wellbeing.
Central Finland Health Care District Ethical Committee, 23/08/2017, Protocol No 7/2017
Single-centre single-blind randomized controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Quality of life
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet
Active ageing and wellbeing
The overall goal of the 12-month counseling intervention is to promote active aging, that is, any participation in valued life activities. The intervention development is based on the COM-B model and the Behavior Change Wheel framework. The Self-determination theory and the Theory of Planned behavior are the two theoretical frameworks that their constructs are used as hypothesized mechanisms that will be activated to produce the expected changes. A health information group will function as control group.
Participants will be randomized to intervention or control group following the baseline assessments using a computer generated randomization scheme, which is stratified by age and sex.
The counseling intervention condition includes a face-to-face counselling session and 4 follow-up counselling phone calls in month 2, 4, 6, and 9. During the face-to-face counselling session, participants will be encouraged to set goals according to their interests regarding activities and behaviors that they would like to introduce to or increase in their everyday life. During the follow up phone calls there will be a discussion regarding their progress on achieving their goals, share their successes, failures, and they will be encouraged to continue their efforts towards active ageing. During the first face-to-face counseling session, an Information Booklet regarding active ageing activities and behaviors and a Newsletter will be delivered to them. The information Booklet will include tips and self-help exercises to be used during the one year of the intervention program as an additional support. Additional newsletters will be sent by post in month 1, 3, 6, and 9 in order to increase their knowledge about available opportunities in the area of Jyvaskyla.
The health information control group will receive by post printed general health information material during months: 1, 3, 6, and 9, which is used in the usual health care services for older people. After completion of all study assessments, participants of the health information control group will receive the Information Booklet regarding active ageing activities and behaviors that counseling intervention participants received during their initial counseling session.
Primary outcome measures
Active ageing, measured using the University of Jyväskylä Active Aging scale (UJACAS) pre-trial, at 6 months and at 12 months (post-trial)
Secondary outcome measures
1. Wellbeing, assessed with the Ryff scale pre- and post-trial
2. Depressive symptoms, assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) pre- and post-trial
3. Quality of life, assessed using the Older People’s Quality of Life questionnaire (OPQOL-brief) pre- and post-trial
4. Autonomy in outdoor mobility, assessed using a subscale of the Impact of Participation and Autonomy scale (IPA) pre- and post-trial
5. Mobility, assessed with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Life-space mobility assessment (LSA) pre- and post-trial
6. Physical activity, assessed objectively with trial axial accelerometers and using self-reports (the Yale Physical Activity Survey for Older Adults [YAPS]) pre- and post-trial
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Living independently in the community
2. Age 75, 80 or 85
3. University of Alabama at Birmingham Life-Apace mobility Assessment (LSA) score between 52.3 - 90.0
4. No evident cognitive decline
5. Participants will be recruited from a cohort study
Target number of participants
200, half in the intervention and half in the control condition
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Mini-Mental State Examination score (MMSE) of 24 or lower
2. Unwillingness to participate
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Gerontology Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä
PO Box 35 (viv)
University of Jyvaskylä
PO Box 35
European Research Council
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Study protocol will be published in 2018. The knowledge produced by this project is communicated to the scientific community through articles published in international scientific journals and presentations in scientific and professional congresses. The trialists prioritize open access publishing and comply with the JyU recommendation for parallel publishing in the open access digital JYX repository. They will inform the general public about the research results through traditional and social media. After the end of the intervention, the effects on the main outcome will be reported in an international peer-reviewed journal during the year 2020. Publications on secondary outcomes will follow in 2020-2022.
IPD sharing statement
The data sharing plans for the current study are unknown and will be made available at a later date.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
To be made available at a later date
Results - basic reporting