Lifematters - SV

Personal Support Plans for Active and Healthy Ageing


The World Health Organisation defines health as 'a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing'. Good health provides for a quality of life marked by spiritual serenity, zestful activity, a sense of competence and psychological wellbeing (Sahlar & Carr, 2007). Health is therefore not merely the absence of disease or disability, but rather a resource that underpins quality of life. Life skills are defined as 'abilities that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life'. We believe that older adults who learn better life skills will be better able to manage their health and wellbeing as a result.

The Project

The purpose of our project is to see if this is indeed the case, by testing if participation in a life skills programme called LIFEMATTERS -SV ( seniors version) will improve wellbeing and quality of life measures and biological / health levels in older adults. LIFEMATTERS SV is a cognitive behavioural, life skills coaching programme focused on promoting life skills for active health and wellbeing in older adults. The programme is a new, proven resource that provides safe and easy to use framework and tools to enhance wellbeing and quality of life. ( mental health , wellbeing and physical and emotional fitness) It is a structured, systematic intervention based upon the bio-psychosocial and the integrated sciences models, using the underlying principles of motivational enhancement and positive psychology. The programme is patient-centred (Steward et al 2000) and ensures that participants and healthcare professionals work in partnership to improve and maintain health. Tools are used to enhance concordance and facilitate good relationships for example use of Personal Achievement Target (PATs) and 'TAKE FIVE' tools. 'SMART' (Structured, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time scaled) plans are designed with and for each participant. The programme is designed to produce rapid, internally motivated health behaviours building over six to eight core sessions, delivered in one to one or group settings. Intervention is preceded ( optional) by a comprehensive assessment battery, called MAP (My Assessment Profile), requiring approximately 30 minutes to complete. MAP assessments normally provide for a mind-body wellbeing and quality of life 'check-up'. The MAP used will differ according to the context in which the programme is delivered. All assessments are tailored to the needs of the individual and results are utilised as baseline and outcome measures of the targets for intervention and change. LIFEMATTERS SV is grandparented by the LIFEMATTERS programme which was designed and researched in the NHS, UK by O'Rourke with patients and carers who presented to clinical psychology services with problems relating to anxiety, stress, depression, alcohol misuse and suicide risk.


The project will be piloted in older people in late 2012.Tutorials, alternate versions, additions and articles about using this template and others, can be found on and on The Grid template page.


The program is funded by University College Cork and is currently seeking governmental funding.

Pillars Targeted

LIFEMATTERS will target the first Pillar, prevention,screening & early diagnosis, specifically A2, personal health management. .

References and Contact details

O'Rourke, M., and Hammond, S. (2006) My Lifematters: RAMAS Foundation, Vancouver, Canada.

O'Rourke, M. and Dwyer, C. (2007) My Lifematters : Trainers Guide. RAMAS Foundation, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.

O'Rourke, M., Hammond, S. and O'Sullivan, D. (2006) 'Lifematters: An Evaluation of a Programme promoting Child Safety'. Conference Paper, Health Research Day, UCC.

Contact : 


Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation , School of Medicine, UCC The Bungalow, Block 13, St. Finbarr's Hospital, Douglas Rd., Cork, Ireland