Apr 25, 2023

Description of the Project:

COVID-19 had major influence on social inclusion and healthy lifestyle, with immense negative consequences related to older people’s physical and mental health. Now, many older people find it difficult to become active again, and to participate in social life on their own. Against this background, the EU-funded Back to a Healthy Society project develops innovative mitigation approaches to (re)connect older people to society so that they improve and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

To reach this goal, we exploit a two-step activation process: We implement a peer-to-peer change agent ap- proach that engages active older people in the development of their local communities. They are trained as local change agents for healthy lifestyle so that they can empower their peers, who have difficulties to (re)connect. We train them in a holistic concept of healthy lifestyle adapted to older people, together with methods to trigger behavioural change and activation. Plus, we provide our chance agents with experienced change mentors who we equip with the knowledge and skills needed to sustainably support them.

To find support for implementing local activities, our change agents learn how to exploit a local active neighbour- hood setting. This helps them to co-create applicable, innovative healthy lifestyle initiatives and to anchor them with local community stakeholders across sectors. As a result, our older change agents become true anchor points in social life. They are enabled to find creative ways to help their peers to (re)connect after COVID-19, and to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. We are co-funded by the European Union.

A unique combination of organisations has teamed up to ensure our goals: The Hanze University of Applied Sci- ences based in the Netherlands, the University of Malaga and the Provincial Government of Malaga in Spain, Takt – Together Advancing Common Trust from North Macedonia, the Public Health Bureau of the Kaunas Province in Lithuania, Lagom Health Innovations from Portugal, and SPIN Sport Innovation from Germany.