Recognising and Controlling Age-Related Decline

Newcastle University is the home for the National Innovation Centre for Ageing. The UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing provides a dynamic environment within which multiple stakeholders can come together to share knowledge, ideas, experience and innovation.

Newcastle University Institute for Ageing

Peter Gore, Professor of Practice in Healthy Ageing at Newcastle University talks about how we age and introduces The Life Curve as a tool for exploring interventions in age-related disability.



Peter highlights the fifteen markers for age-related decline. If you are unable to perform one or more of these key tasks, then you will probably need to consider some form of care to assist you to remain living safely and independently in your own home. These fifteen markers can be categorised into a hierarchy of age-related decline. Peter Gore has identified benchmark activities where decline can be identified and are in order of seriousness:

  1. Difficulty cutting your own toenails.
  2. Shopping for yourself.
  3. Walking upstairs.
  4. Walking 400 yards.
  5. Using the washing machine.
  6. Accessing your bath.
  7. Cooking.
  8. Accessing every room in your house.
  9. Getting up from a seated position.
  10. Performing dusting and ironing.
  11. Getting on and off your toilet.
  12. Dressing.
  13. Getting yourself out of bed.
  14. Washing your hands and face.
  15. Eating.

The degree of care required will depend upon how many of these tasks become difficult or impossible to perform independently, or how low down the list one may be.

In order to reduce the need for care, it is therefore important to keep performing these tasks as regularly as possible. This will compress your need for care into a reduced timeframe and will condense the total amount of care you require over your lifetime, saving valuable resources for when you may need it most.

There are plenty of helpful tips available to aid better independence. The key is to perform tasks with people and not for them. Always maintain a positive view of ageing. Remain optimistic and do not give up previously enjoyed activities until they become impossible to continue. It is vital, where appropriate to reduce social isolation which has an extremely beneficial effect on people’s mental health. Finally, try to be innovative and inventive while encouraging exercise. Combine movement with a hobby and try to make it as much fun as possible.