Skip to main content

Research Repository

See what's under the surface

Participant and Public Involvement in Refining a Peer-Volunteering Active Aging Intervention: Project ACE (Active, Connected, Engaged)

Withall, Janet; Thompson, Janice; Thompson, Janice L.; Fox, Kenneth; Fox, Kenneth R.; Davis, Mark; Gray, Selena; De Koning, Jolanthe; Lloyd, Liz; Parkhurst, Graham; Stathi, Afroditi


Janet Withall

Janice Thompson

Janice L. Thompson

Kenneth Fox

Kenneth R. Fox

Mark Davis

Jolanthe De Koning

Liz Lloyd

Afroditi Stathi


© The Author(s) 2016. Background Evidence for the health benefits of a physically active lifestyle among older adults is strong, yet only a small proportion of older people meet physical activity recommendations. A synthesis of evidence identified "best bet" approaches, and this study sought guidance from end-user representatives and stakeholders to refine one of these, a peer-volunteering active aging intervention. Methods Focus groups with 28 older adults and four professional volunteer managers were conducted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 9 older volunteers. Framework analysis was used to gauge participants' views on the ACE intervention. Results Motives for engaging in community groups and activities were almost entirely social. Barriers to participation were lack of someone to attend with, lack of confidence, fear of exclusion or "cliquiness" in established groups, bad weather, transport issues, inaccessibility of activities, ambivalence, and older adults being "set in their ways". Motives for volunteering included "something to do," avoiding loneliness, the need to feel needed, enjoyment, and altruism. Challenges included negative events between volunteer and recipient of volunteering support, childcare commitments, and high volunteering workload. Conclusion Peer-volunteering approaches have great potential for promotion of active aging. The systematic multistakeholder approach adopted in this study led to important refinements of the original ACE intervention. The findings provide guidance for active aging community initiatives highlighting the importance of effective recruitment strategies and of tackling major barriers including lack of motivation, confidence, and readiness to change; transport issues; security concerns and cost; activity availability; and lack of social support.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 19, 2018
Journal Gerontologist
Print ISSN 0016-9013
Electronic ISSN 1758-5341
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Issue 2
Pages 362-375
APA6 Citation Stathi, A., Fox, K. R., Thompson, J. L., Withall, J., Thompson, J., Fox, K., …Parkhurst, G. (2018). Participant and Public Involvement in Refining a Peer-Volunteering Active Aging Intervention: Project ACE (Active, Connected, Engaged). Gerontologist, 58(2), 362-375.
Keywords older adults, physical activity, community engagement, intervention, volunteering, peer support, multi-stakeholder, qualitative
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations