Frail-LESS: study to help older adults stay independent with everyday activities

The purpose of this study is to test a new remotely delivered programme to reduce sitting time in older adults to help them with doing everyday activities. The study will see whether it is possible to deliver the new programme to reduce sitting time in older adults to improve health and help them stay independent for longer.

We all lose muscle and strength as we get older (this is called sarcopenia) and this can affect how well we can do everyday activities. Reducing the amount of time spent sitting down could help improve older people’s strength, balance, ability to carry out everyday activities (e.g. standing up from a chair, walking and climbing stairs) and help them to maintain their independence for longer. This new programme has been designed to help with this.

Study For

People over 65, who may need help with some daily tasks

Sponsored By

Brunel University London




Take Part


December 31, 2021

What is expected of me? 

You will be involved in the study for approximately 6 months. The research team will first take a set of health and behaviour measurements from you, which are explained below. You will then be randomly put into either the control group or the intervention group. Regardless of which group you are in, the health and behaviour measurements will be repeated again 3 and 6 months later.

If you are in the intervention group, you will receive the Frail-LESS programme straight away, which will last for 6 months and will include the following:

  • An education programme that will tell you about the health benefits of sitting less and ways that you can try to reduce your sitting time.
  • You will be given a device that you can wear on your wrist throughout the 6 months to support you with sitting less. This device tracks your sitting time and sends you alerts to encourage you to get up and move more often. You will receive guidance from the researchers on how to use the device.
  • You will be offered five sessions with a health coach over the phone or by video call, at a time suitable to you, who will help you in meeting your targets for reducing your sitting time. 
  • You will be able to join a Frail-LESS peer support group, which will have other members in it from the study. You will be able to support each other in reducing your sitting time during regular meetings and by keeping in touch by phone and email.

If you are in the control group you will be asked to continue with your normal daily behaviours for 6 months. You will take part in the same measurements as the intervention group during this time. After 6 months, your involvement in the study will end but you will have the opportunity to receive the Frail-LESS programme explained above (apart from the health coaching). You won’t take part in anymore measurements after this. It is important to have a control group so we can see how the Frail-LESS programme works compared to people who aren’t receiving it.

You will be asked to complete a range of measurements on three occasions to see how your sitting levels, health and wellbeing might change during the study. It will take around 1 hour to complete all the measurements. If you are unable to attend the University or prefer not to because of COVID-19, a member of the research team will visit you at your home to do the measurements with you. The team will be following government guidelines during the measurements to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, such as wearing a face mask and having regular COVID-19 tests. At the end of the three measurement sessions, the team will provide you with a small activity monitor that will be stuck to your thigh to be worn for the next 8 days.

What is the benefit for me?

You may experience improvements in your health from receiving the programme such as improved strength, balance and your ability to do everyday activities; this includes the control group who can have the Frail-LESS programme at the end of the study.

You will receive £10 of shopping gift vouchers for completing the measurements at each data collection point and if you return the activity monitor each time you have worn it (up to a maximum of £30). You will be reimbursed your travel expenses for any visits you make to the university to complete measurements as part of this study.

The research team are hoping this study leads to a larger study that may help to change healthcare for older adults that encourages reducing their sitting time using this type of programme. By taking part you will be helping us with this.

Who is the study for? 

Participants must:

  • Be aged over 65
  • People who may need help with some daily tasks like ‘heavy’ housework (e.g. hoovering, ironing, cleaning the floor), walking outside, or getting in and out of a car
  • Be willing to attend the site for visits, or be visited at home by a member of the research team

Study Application Form

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