Using memories of sport to engage older people in conversation and reminiscence, the network engages with volunteers across communities to establish social groups in a wide variety of settings.
Following an initial pilot project involving 15 care homes in Leeds, the approach has been rolled out across cities and counties to engage with people over the age of 55, particularly those who may have memory problems, dementia, depression or are at risk of being socially isolated. Partners involved in current projects include professional sports clubs, adult social care providers, NHS Wards, Care Homes, libraries, museums and pubs.
In addition to promoting and improving mental well-being through reminiscence, the local projects also raise awareness of conditions such as dementia across communities and generations.
Siel Bleu provides exercise classes in care homes to more than 70,000 people in France, Ireland and Belgium.
They have been facilitating both personalised and group sessions for individuals, community groups and residential homes since 1997 in more than 2,000 care homes. Their aim is not only to improve people’s health but to enhance independence, autonomy and
socialisation through group participation.
For more information see: http://sielbleu.ie/
For a similar service in the UK see Oomph Wellness Limited
Project Silverline gives free smartphones to older people with simple to use apps already loaded, that will enhance their independence.
Project Silverline is a corporate responsibility project run by SingTel, a mobile telecom company based in Singapore with 416 million customers in the Far East. It loads donated smartphones with five apps co-developed with and for older people, and matches each phone donated with a year’s free service.
Silverline is also raising funds through crowdfunding to take the programme internationally. Initial focus is on US, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, with the applications available in English and Mandarin Chinese.
Spring Online is Digital Unite’s national digital literacy campaign for older people. The award winning campaign is held every April – in 2013, 22-26th April.
Local people and organisations as diverse as schools, businesses, housing providers, Age UK groups, UK Online centres, libraries, shops, businesses and community organisations open their doors to older people and run hands-on digital taster sessions.
Spring Online is now in its 12th year – it started as ‘Silver surfer day’ in 2002, and became a week-long event in 2011. In 2012, 2,000 events all around the UK helped 30,000 people get online, many for the first time. Grants are available towards running events, with guides and training materials online.
Digital Unite also trains organisations and individuals through their Digital Champion programme, for which bursaries are available from Digital Unite Trust.
Home visit tuition is also available through a network of local Tutors who Digital Unite recruit, train and support.
Stay Well@Home brings volunteers, GPs, and social care providers together to support older people to stay well and remain living at home.
Many people who have recently left hospital are at immediate risk of being re-admitted. Immediate support and confidence building over 4-6 weeks can prevent this, provided by a dedicated team of part-timers and trained volunteers. A trial by Age Concern Kingston on Thames both delivered a service and explored its impact, looking at Social Return on Investment (SROI).
Overall, the social return on investment was 11:1 – £11 of value created for every £1 spent. Saving in public sector expenditure was £268,000, including, for example, avoiding 5 unplanned hospital admissions at £2075 each. Volunteers were responsible for 25% of the total value of the service. On average, across the 682 older people in the pilot, £3500 of services were delivered to each, at an average input cost of a tenth of that.
The SROI report
Recommended by Shane Brennan
Staying Steady is a community-based exercise and education programme implemented city-wide in Newcastle-upon-Tyne as part of a strategy to prevent older people falling and preventing fractures.
Using a fitness instructor, older people exercise both in groups and with individual exercises at home; a physiotherapist also assesses them at home, looking at particular risks and needs, and referring them for more specialised help where needed.
It is just one programme using the Falls Management Exercise (FaME) intervention, which has been proven in the US and the UK, with a Random Clinical Trial (RCT) in the UK in 2008. Key parameters in the programme have been tested – for example, showing that the programme needs to be a minimum of 36 weeks, but the effects have been proven. For example, after 36 weeks, the fall rate in the exercise group was reduced by one-third. Over the entire study, which included a 50-week follow-up period, the fall rate was reduced by 54 per cent.
Preliminary results in Newcastle support these findings: “I went to the shops the other day and when I got there I realised I had forgotten my walking stick”
Falls and fractures account for around 4m hospital bed days a year in England, at an estimated annual cost of £2billion.
Stonewall Housing knows that older people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) do not have the family networks that many others take for granted. And many live with the fear of prejudice, harassment, discrimination and abuse built up over years when society wasn’t accepting of anything other than heterosexual relationships.
In response Stonewall Housing is starting a new project to match volunteers who can help out with small tasks with older, isolated LGBT people. The pilot in early 2013 will also test a tech enabled matching scheme using mobile apps, web, text and email-based systems top recruit and match 50 people who would not normally volunteer.
Stonewall Housing are currently looking for backers. For more information see: http://www.stonewallhousing.org
The Sharing Zone is a new kind of neighbourhood, where residents feel connected though shared interests and able to offer and give help to one another.
A Sharing Zone neighbourhood includes volunteers to co-ordinate events and match needs with givers, some local volunteers willing to carry out caring tasks (like shopping or cleaning) and a number of incentives (like reduction in council tax for those who share).
The first Sharing Zione was established in Adelaide by TACSI in 2011 following feedback from older people who felt isolated, and younger people who felt disconnected to the neighbourhood. A set up team mapped needs, found volunteers and paid local carers, established arrangements on benefits (like tax reductions) and events. As a result local residents took over two-thirds of caring tasks previously delivered by the state and neighbourliness improved.
A local team now co-ordinates this Sharing Zone and more are being established.
For more information see: http://greatliving.tacsi.org.au/#solutions
Silver Cyclists helps people aged 50+ to improve their physical and mental wellbeing through cycling.
Silver Cyclists provides training, group rides, classes in bike maintenance and route planning guidance to get more older people out on their bikes. The Stockton based group is part of Sustrans Active Travel Programme and is designed for cyclists of all abilities, and is run by experienced cycle leaders and trainers.
In the future Sustrans hope to work with Housing 21 to get more residents of sheltered housing to become Silver Cyclists, by providing local travel champions to help older people plan new routes and transport for everyday tasks and feel confident about using public transport and bikes.
For more information see: