The goal of RISE-WELL is to improve SWB and QOL of elderly European citizens to obtain positive individual health outcomes and to promote future translational research. The approach of the consortium has been to design cutting-edge WPs and ESR projects.
Mental health and emotional well-being during old age (60+) should be regarded as important as at any other time of a persons’ life. Older people are more likely to experience events that affect emotional well-being, such as bereavement or disability. Unfortunately, mental health problems are under identified by healthcare professionals and older people themselves are also less likely to seek help as compared to other people in the population. It is estimated that over the next 30 years, the proportion of elderly people is estimated to almost double from approximately 12% to 22% (2 billion people of 60+ by 2050).
Older people are confronted with a variety of physical and mental health challenges and unfortunately these are not always, if indeed at all, thoroughly addressed. The assessment of our elderly population, with respect to mental health therefore requires an understanding of the full spectrum of the mental health continuum, and not to categorise everything into a ‘neurological disease’ or ‘dementia’ category. In particular, we would need to dissect the complex interaction between specific medical conditions, mental stress as part of the ageing process and social circumstances. To be able to offer effective support to tacking this issue, our project aims to implement novel scientific and technological innovations, including strengthening of information systems. Subjective Well-Being (SWB) and quality of life (QOL) are broad terms that are used to define the cognitive and affective make-up of an individual (Diener, E. Am. Psychol., 2000). The ‘cognitive element’ refers to an individual’s own satisfactory view of life in global terms (their life as a whole), and in domain terms, to specific areas of life such as work, health, religion, relationships, etc. The ‘affective element’ refers to the individual’s emotions, moods and feelings.
The hypothesis of RISE- WELL is that SWB is strongly impacted by many important biological outcomes, which includes the immune system, cardiovascular function, pain tolerance, exercise and food. This is especially the case if we look at older adults, who make important contributions to society as family members and lending their knowledge and life experience to be passed down to a younger generation. As people age, they are also more likely to experience several conditions, e.g. diabetes, hearing loss and osteoarthritis, at the same time (comorbidity). Older people encounter mental health challenges, which need to be solved as otherwise with comorbidity, the health situation can deteriorate very rapidly for the elderly.
In parallel, innovative training programs are essential to deliver a highly skilled, multidisciplinary, pro-active workforce that can implement and sustaining the idea of RISE-WELL. However, given its fledgling nature, training programs that cover the whole value chain, from SWB to QOL, are lacking. RISE-WELL teams up experts in the fields of statistics, computer science, data modelling, behavioural economics, stress physiology and science, communication ethics, policy, business, and education, to train the next generation of early stage researchers (ESRs) capable of implementing novel scientific and technological innovations to supporting the elderly in the EU. This consortium embeds academic institutes and SMEs with expertise on public health, policy making, ethics and a strong focus on societal impact and education. RISE-WELL will deliver well-rounded individuals, that will hold a unique position within the European labour market.