DELIA - Digital lifestyle intervention for older adults

Development and evaluation of a smartphone application to promote quality of life in older adults. The app covers the lifestyle domains physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and relaxation/mindfulness.



The Swiss population is getting older and at the same time more multimorbid. To enable healthy aging with a satisfactory quality of life, targeting the lifestyle of an individual can be promising. But how can we support people to change their habits with a digital lifestyle intervention?

Course of action

This research project was funded by Velux Stiftung. In this project we developed and evaluated a digital multi-domain lifestyle intervention in community-dwelling older adults aged 65 years and above. The intervention was implemented in the form of a smartphone application. For the app development, we mainly followed the Integrate-Design-Assess-Share (IDEAS) framework and different behavior change techniques were considered. Furthermore, the content is based on available scientific literature and current recommendations of national and international institutions. The development followed a participatory approach, i.e., with the involvement of users as well as highly experienced health professionals and researchers with various backgrounds and expertise including sleep, nutrition and dietetics, physiotherapy, sports science, mindfulness, psychology, and medical informatics. To evaluate the use and the implementation of the app, we conducted a study in 108 participants using a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data was collected before, during and after the use of the app. In addition, qualitative data was gathered in semi-structured interviews after the intervention. Following a mixed methods design, quantitative and qualitative data were combined using data integration.


The lifestyle intervention was developed as a 12-week structured and progressive program for people over 65 years of age. The overarching aim was to increase well-being. The intervention covered the four lifestyle domains physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and relaxation/mindfulness. The intervention included an individualized weekly plan with tasks, reminders, motivational messages, a diary, progress reports, goal setting, educational materials and weekly newsletters and quizzes. More than 55% of the participants used the app until week twelve. The overall satisfaction with the app was high, and the usability was rated high. Consequently, the participants reported a high likelihood for using the app again and recommending the app to others. General aspects that were liked the most include the variety of topics addressed, the holistic approach to lifestyle, the structure of the app and the fact that the guided intervention structured the days of the participants. In summary, this study showed that a digital multi-domain lifestyle intervention can be very well received by community-dwelling older adults and contributes to healthier lifestyle behavior. In addition, our study indicates that the well-being of the participants improved statistically significantly in certain domains.

Looking ahead

The research team aims to make the application available to the public. However, there are some technical aspects that need to be addressed up front. The team is in contact with different partners to plan next steps.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 3: Good health and well-being