The results of a randomised controlled trial, called Lifestyle Matters, funded by the Medical Research Council, and led by Professor Gail Mountain and supported by staff in DTS and ScHARR has recently been published online in Age and Ageing

The trial aim to test whether an occupation-based lifestyle intervention, called Lifestyle Matters, can sustain and improve the mental well-being of adults aged 65 years or over compared to usual care.

Lifestyle Matters is a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended multi-component preventive intervention designed to improve the mental well-being of community living older people at risk of decline. It involves weekly group sessions over 4 months’ and one to one sessions.

The study successfully recruited its target sample size of 288 independently living adults aged 65 years or over, with normal cognition, from two UK sites between December 2011 and November 2015.

The main outcome measure was mental well-being at 6 months (mental health (MH) dimension of the SF-36). Secondary outcomes included physical health dimensions of the SF-36, extent of depression (PHQ-9), quality of life (EQ-5D) and loneliness (de Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale), assessed at 6 and 24 months.

Outcome data on 262 (intervention = 136; usual care = 126) participants were analysed. Mean SF-36 MH scores at 6 months differed by 2.3 points (95 CI: −1.3 to 5.9; P = 0.209) after adjustments.

The trial found little evidence of clinical or cost-effectiveness in the recruited population. The results pose questions regarding how preventive interventions to promote well-being in older adults can be effectively targeted in the absence of proactive mechanisms to identify those who at risk of decline.