Action for Elders Trust
Action for Elders is a developing charity with an innovative solution to the health and social care challenge presented by the growing number of people who are not ageing well: a programme to improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of older people, Balanced Lives.
The Balanced Lives programme has three main aims:
- To improve social wellbeing by reducing social isolation and loneliness.
- To improve physical wellbeing
- To improve mental wellbeing
Each Programme is delivered through weekly sessions, facilitated by highly experienced trainers; typically:
- A Social Host who focuses on bringing people together in a social setting through peer group bonding, using a range of interactive group discussions and exercises around the relationship-centred Senses Framework (Nolan et al, 2006)
- A Physical Health Practitioner, who focuses on the five evidence elements for improved mobility in older people (balance, flexibility, strength, endurance and sustainability) (Cochrane, 2009). Gentle movement and exercises are based on T’ai Chi practice.
The programme is delivered in a variety of settings – such as sheltered accommodation, extra care schemes, community centres, day centres and care homes – to support older residents.
Action for Elders has partnered successfully with both regional Housing Associations, like Hafod Care in the Vale of Glamorgan and Herefordshire Housing, and with national Housing Associations such as Anchor Housing and Barchester Healthcare, and has found great synergy.
James Lewis, Chief Executive of Action for Elders, explains: “We’ve found that many Housing Associations have unused communal spaces and local knowledge about the people and communities who are most lonely and isolated. We often work together to secure grant funding so we can work together to build on local assets and develop dynamic, community-led programmes that harness older people’s strengths and connect local communities.”
Participants report outcomes including:
- Feeling physically fitter
- Sleeping better
- Feeling more relaxed
- Having better mobility and balance
- Feeling less depressed and anxious
- Having better social interaction with others which continues outside of the weekly groups
Having a more fulfilling and meaningful life