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.
Levels of inactivity are persistently high for older adults Inactivity levels of people in Greater Manchester aged 75 and over are more than double that of 16-34 year olds (48.4% compared to 21.4%) . In England, over half of all inactive people are aged 55 and over.
Evidence shows that physical activity can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, as well as reduce the risk of falls and social isolation.
Falls are the main cause of unplanned hospital visits amongst older people: around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year . Evidence shows that strength and balance exercises can help reduce these risks. Improving mobility can maintain independence and allow older adults to continue engaging in their communities, reducing risk of social isolation. More mobile and active older adults are less likely to be socially isolated or lonely .
What have we done?
The Greater Manchester Active Ageing Programme finished in March 2020, so this year’s priority was finishing the evaluation and sharing the learnings of the programme. We worked with partners and the evaluation team to host a ‘GM Active Ageing: Evaluation Workshop’ in November 2020, the purpose of which was to share the key learnings, along with the future direction of Active Ageing for Greater Manchester. We produced the GM Active Ageing Learning Report to support the overall report, pulling out the key themes and highlighting recommendations to support others who are working to support older people.
The majority of the ageing work throughout the course of 2020-21 was with the GM ageing eco-system to assist with the response to Covid-19 and supporting older people to stay safe and well within their own homes.
Case Study: Keeping well at home
In May 2020, the Healthy Ageing Research team at the University of Manchester, in partnership with Greater Manchester Ageing, developed and led on the publication of the Keeping Well at Home booklets for older adults.
The move from face-to-face interaction to digital communication disproportionately excludes older people, one of the groups hardest hit by the pandemic. Many do not have access to the internet, so it was important we produced an alternative option to support older adults to keep well at home and provide a resource to support their physical and mental wellbeing.
We designed and co-created the booklet with the Greater Manchester older people’s network and local and national partners. Due to our ongoing relationship with the GM Ageing Hub, we supported the development of the physical activity aspect to ensure key strength and balance, messaging and exercises were included.
The booklets gained positive feedback from older adults and beyond. It became a World Health Organisation case study and attracted requests from localities across Europe to adapt the booklet for their area. The evaluation of the first booklet led to a second booklet being put together with relevant translations to ensure it was more inclusive and could have a further reach across Greater Manchester.