Over-60s empowered to take responsibility of health and wellbeing after series of successful awareness events held at leading housing association

Over-60s empowered to take responsibility of health and wellbeing after series of successful awareness events held at leading housing association

At 82-years-old, learning archery wasn’t at the top of Audrey Brown’s to-do list, but thanks to a series of health and wellbeing events held by a Hull and East Riding housing association, she’s found a new sport she loves and made new friends in the process.

Pickering and Ferens Homes, which aims to enhance living in later life, launched the health and wellbeing awareness events at its sheltered schemes to provide a central venue for services to come together to promote their projects, giving residents a chance to find out what support they can access and ask questions on a personal level face to face.

The events also showcased the unique physical activities and social groups residents can get involved in across the association’s schemes and pop-ins, as well as the wider community.

Audrey Brown, of Broadway Manor, says the event really opened her eyes as to what support services and social activities were readily available to her.

She said: “Two weeks ago I’d never picked up an archery arrow in my life and if it wasn’t for events like these I would never have known how much I enjoy it.

“Remaining physically active in my older age has presented me with opportunities for maintaining my independence. My daily walk to the local shops means I rely less on others and can have a bit of a natter with people I bump into on the way.”

According to Age UK’s Healthy Ageing Evidence Review, older people currently account for nearly 60 per cent of the £16.1 billion gross current social care expenditure by local authorities, and despite a recent downward trend, those aged over 65 still account for approximately 40 per cent of all hospital bed days, with 65 per cent of NHS spend being on those aged over 65.

Claire Champlin, health and wellbeing manager at Pickering and Ferens Homes, says that effective health promotion services are often providing more than just activities and information – they involve adopting approaches that can change people’s behaviours.

She said: “Fitter older adults have better cognitive function, with even gentle exercise helping to reduce stress, ease depression and anxiety, and enhance mental well-being.

“With cuts to the NHS and health services across the city, it is vital that people take ownership of their own health and wellbeing through preventative measures – from healthy eating and exercise, to accessing local mental health and support services.

“By empowering older people to be more health aware through information events like Pickering and Ferens Homes’ health and wellbeing days it will, over time, reduce the rising number of GP visits as well as the financial strain on the NHS through fewer hospital admissions.”

Hull-based charity Inspire Communities has recently teamed up with Pickering and Ferens Homes to deliver its Bring IT to Life workshops, which are designed to teach over 55s how to use technology and the internet for fun and social reasons, such as researching places to go, planning how to get there, and then making it happen.

Dave Edeson, Chief Officer at Inspire Communities, said: “The main reason for the project is to reduce isolation and get people socialising and exercising more for their own physical and emotional well-being – the technology is just a catalyst to making it happen and create opportunities for people that they didn’t have before.

“We are social beings, so we are trying to provide activities, ideas and technology that will encourage people to socialise regularly, but it will only work if they want to socialise.

“We’ll be there to help support and facilitate events, but empower them to take the lead as we feel it’s the best way of the project being successful over the long term.”

For more information, please contact Pickering and Ferens Homes on 01482 223783.