MAKE ACTIVE AGEING A CENTRAL PILLAR WITHIN THE GREATER MANCHESTER AGEING HUB SUPPORTING THE GREATER MANCHESTER AMBITION FOR AN AGE FRIENDLY CITY-REGION, WHICH WILL LEAD TO BETTER HEALTH, WELLBEING AND INDEPENDENCE.
Greater Manchester has an ageing population, people over 70 years old are predicted to increase by 15.2% by 2021. Physical activity can reduce the risk of falls by up to 37% and dementia by up to 30%.
Over 50’s are twice as likely to be inactive as the youngest age group 16-34 years and by the time they are 75 they are three times more likely to be inactive.
What have we done?
The Greater Manchester Active Ageing programme has been running since April 2018 and will run until March 2020. It links a programme of co-designed interventions that support older people to become more physically active with wider system work aimed at supporting older people to age well in their communities. The programme is a series of eight pilots that are using common principles across eight different localities to address a local strategic need. In order to achieve this, the programme has been developed in line with the transformational principles of GM Moving and in support of the Age-Friendly community approaches.
The cross-cutting themes which operate across all the GM pilots include;
- Peer support and the utilisation of community champions to support target groups to become active.
- Use of positive images and language to change the narrative and promote a new positive vision of ageing.
- Using the principles of co-production and strength-based conversations with older people to encourage more active lifestyles among inactive people aged 55 and over.
In the past year, across the eight localities, around 3,665 individuals have been involved in the engagement phase of the programme to find and connect with those who are inactive and aged over 55. To encourage the engagement of the target audience with a variety of community events the areas have trialled a variety of marketing approaches including leaflets, banners and word of mouth. The main aim for Year 1 of the programme was to build the profile, connect with key partners, and to drive progress through extensive consultation with inactive older adults within their communities. Six of the eight pilots have begun to deliver against their intended outcomes, with 269 individuals visiting a session and a real impact being had on people’s lives.
In summer 2018 Link4Life delivered one of the first Active Ageing programmes when they delivered nature walks around Hollingworth Lake Country Park. These sessions specifically targeted carers over 50 years old. There was a real focus around socialising, as such refreshments were provided at the end of the walks as a further opportunity to chat. 65 people engaged in the sessions, most of whom have either been sedentary or only exercising 1-2 times per week.
Gordon Aaron met Link4Life’s Active Ageing lead at his veteran’s association. He became interested in the programme as soon as he heard ‘over 50’s ramble’, because he enjoys being outside in the fresh air which he doesn’t always have the opportunity to do.
Gordon enjoys both the exercise and social components of the walks giving him not only a sense of being free and brave, but also the feeling that he could ‘walk forever.’
Escaping from the stresses of life has also been massively important for Gordon. His wife is in a care home with vascular dementia. He goes to see her every day, but it does mean that he spends a lot of time home alone. The benefits to his mental health have been life changing and provided him with a sense of belonging.
Gordon has achieved a lot since joining the group, however his medal for completing the Manchester Half Marathon, where he came second in his age group, has topped it all. At the age of 83 this is a huge achievement! A marathon has always been a goal of Gordon’s but he never had the time until now. Even with the rain pouring down, Gordon still had a brilliant time, pushing through the tough final miles and he even plans on doing it again this year!