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Mobility in rural areas

The primary objective of the junior research group "Social and Behavioral Gerontology" and the MOBILE study is to strengthen ageing research at the Charité. The primary objective of the MOBILE study is to enhance Mobility in Old age By Integrating health care and personal network resources in older adults Living in rural arEas (MOBILE).


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Integrating health care and regional resources as well as personal ones is crucial for maintaining mobility and autonomy in old age, especially in rural areas. Moreover, having a good mobility is necessary for accessing health care and prevention of frailty, which is a common syndrome of the elderly. Therefore, a specific analysis of those resources is fundamental for the individual as well as the health care services.



The overall aim of the MOBILE study (Mobility in Old age By Integrating health care and personal network resources in older adults Living in rural arEas) and the newly established junior research team is to strengthen the gerontological health services research in general as well as to establish research of social gerontology within the Charité. In cooperation with the Havelland Kliniken the examination of health care structures regarding needs of older people living in rural areas is a foundation of this project. The junior research group and the study are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; ID 01GY1803) within the framework of the guideline for strengthening research in geriatrics and gerontology.

Aim of the MOBILE study is to identify environmental, social and personal resources of various spatial resolutions for mobility and participation in health care. Further, we aim to test whether a tablet-based network tool is effective in preserving the mobility needed to use these resources. How to stay active despite functional limitations or area deprivations will be the context of this study.

To answer the research questions personal resources and goals will be linked to existing social activities and health care opportunities in the community. A two-arm, pragmatic, randomized controlled trial (RCT) design will be used for 254 individuals over 75 years of age from Havelland region in Brandenburg. The primary outcome will be objectively measured mobility (GPS tracking).

Novel aspects of the project include the systemic multi-level approach (i.e., environmental, social, and personal resources); the application of innovative technologies in communities of older adults, which are the objective measures of effectiveness and the tablet-based intervention approach; and matching individual needs with health care opportunities, guided by a theory driven approach. The ecologic approach assures easy implementation to maximize the benefits for the people in the region.