More of us are living longer, which is good news. The downside is that many more people are living with complex conditions that make it harder to keep active and maintain their level of health.
Our highly targeted Healthy, Happy Lives programme promotes physical and emotional health, helping to keep people enjoying an active role in their community.
Increasingly, community-based support is playing a key role in treating and managing health conditions. And a growing body of research shows that a particularly impactful approach is to give people the tools to look after themselves, improving lifestyle factors such as nutrition and physical activity. As individuals become more resilient, they take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. Advances in the science of ageing suggest that simple changes can go a long way in improving physical function and maintaining a healthy brain.
What we do
Targeted physical and cognitively stimulating activities can significantly improve health and wellbeing. Traditionally, community-based activities are aimed at the more mobile and agile older people, leaving the less able behind. We want to ensure all older people have the tools to help them make the most of life, regardless of their current abilities. Our set of activities is designed to support those who need a bit more support.
- Move it or Lose it!, a fun, chair-based resistance exercise session with music, balls and games.
- A two course lunch that’s high in protein and micronutrients as it's known that protein-rich food after exercise can help rebuild muscle mass.
- Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for those with mild to moderate dementia. CST sessions involve structured discussions designed to engage and stimulate. It's not about testing or remembering facts – participants are encouraged to give opinions and get involved. Sometimes, CST is alternated with group activities such as singing, arts and crafts or hobbies.
- Snack and chat, a great chance to socialise with the group, while enjoying a healthy snack and a drink, before being driven home by volunteers if needed.
How it makes a difference
In a pilot led by Royal Voluntary Service in 2016, Move it or Lose it! sessions over 10 - 14 weeks produced significant improvements in physical function in 27 out of 44 participants. In addition, 22% fewer people reported feeling lonely after the chair-based exercise programme. By addressing physical function, nutrition and hydration and emotional wellbeing, we would expect to see a reduction in falls, and in the need for medical services.