Luton pensioner hopes health study could change his life

Mr James StevensA retired policeman from Luton in Bedfordshire with mobility issues is hoping a new health drive launching in the county will give him a new “lease of life”. 

James Stevens finds day-to-day life a struggle because walking is painful, forcing him to use a stick and wear compression stockings.

Fed up of “feeling unfit, lethargic and useless”, the 85-year-old has signed up to take part in a new Europe-wide study which is being led by a Luton-based professor.

He said: “I am desperate to try anything to get my health back on track. Since my wife died last year I’m having to rely on my daughter to do most things for me which is far from ideal.

“My mind is in perfect working order, but my body is physically starting to give up, which is why I decided to take part in this study, as I hope it will give me a new lease of life.

“I am fed of getting out of bed in the morning feeling unfit, lethargic and useless, and I certainly don’t want to be a burden.”

Men and women aged 70 years and over from the area are being invited to take part in the ground-breaking research involving exercise and nutrition.

Chief investigator, Professor Alan Sinclair from Diabetes Frail based at the Medici Medical Centre in Luton, said: “The aim is to find the best way to treat older people who suffer from various age-related conditions in a bid to improve their quality of life.

“Not only do we want to find treatment, but we also want to find a way to prevent certain conditions which can plague the older generation. We know that old age can make people more prone to health problems, such as disability, frailty and sarcopaenia, which is a condition that reduces the bulk of muscle mass and strength in the legs as a result of ageing.”

The three-year study is part of a major European project involving 1,500 people across nine different countries.

Researchers want to hear from people who are feeling weak and fatigued and have reduced their physical activity; they hope they will get in touch and agree to participate in the initiative.

The Sarcopaenia & Physical fRailty iN older people (SPRINTT) study will try to identify the specific characteristics of frailty and test whether it can be prevented using a treatment programme that combines exercise, dietary advice and modern technologies.

The research is being funded by the European Commission and is being supported by Active Luton, which is a charitable trust that strives to improve the lives of Luton’s residents whatever their age, ability, way of life or culture.

Diabetes Frail is a top not-for-profit research and educational organisation which explores the emergence of frailty in ageing populations and its association with diabetes.

 

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