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
The Golden Gym in Bristol matches socially isolated older people with volunteers to take part in new activities. Together they attend four group sessions, develop a plan for increasing connectedness and mobility, and then execute the plan together.
Activities might include joining a local walking club, or trying out a new sport. Older people report that the Golden Gym has helped them to feel more connected and resilient, as well as more active.
The scheme is run by the North Bristol Advice Centre and backed by a large number of local partners. For more information see:
The Golden Games is a new idea to celebrate excellence in sport in later life.
In 2007, the Senior Olympics in Louisville, USA, attracted over 10,000 competitors and 20,000 spectators. The entrepreneurs behind the golden games want to replicate that success, building from the achievements of the London 2012 Olympics.
They plan to run the Golden Games in summer 2014 in Gateshead focused around six sports – athletics, swimming, tennis, golf, indoor rowing and bowls. There will be five age categories – 60-65, 66-70, 71-75, 75-80, 80+.
Older people will get the chance both to compete and to volunteer to make the event happen. It is also hoped that the event will encourage many more older people to try a new sport or re-discover an old hobby.
The Golden Games are currently looking for partners and funders. For more information see: http://www.goldengames2014.com