Live Longer Better: transformational system change for older people
team BEDS& LUTON's strategy, Moving Forwards Together identifies the need for us to play a more proactive role in supporting older people to be active. Under our New Audiences pillar – engaging and building relationships with communities who struggle the most to be physical active we have pledged to:
- Mitigate against the risk of social isolation and loneliness by creating a whole system approach across Bedfordshire to ageing well and
- Advocate for the value of physical activity with a focus on those communities and groups, less likely to be active.
Our ambition is for Bedfordshire and Luton's older residents to be able to enjoy a good quality of life, doing the things that they enjoy for as long as possible. Living well for longer is important for all of us, and together we can create the conditions for everyone to enjoy a good quality of life, in good health with limited health-related disabilities, for longer.
Bedfordshire's population is ageing rapidly; In 2020 those aged 65 and over numbered 111.6K. By 2030 this is projected to increase by 31% to almost 147K. Central Bedfordshire is projected to see the biggest increases, with over 75K residents within this age group within the next 10 years. Across the county there are great inequalities in healthy life expectancy dependent upon a person's borough, gender, and socio-economic status.
This demonstrates the need for a massive shift towards creating a true, preventive, whole-system approach to ageing well throughout the life course. If we don't do things differently the number of people at risk of social isolation, loneliness and debilitating health conditions is forecast to increase, along with the related impacts on physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Physical activity will and must play an integral part to help achieve our vision - enabling older adults to live a happier, healthier later life, with reduced social isolation and loneliness.
We have been a committed member of the Live Longer Better movement since its inception in the autumn of 2020. Our work is currently focusing on the following areas:
- Building new relationships and partnerships with like-minded organisations and individuals across the health, social care, nursing and residential care, wider health and wellbeing providers and wider community organisation's supporting older people and their agenda's.
- Establishing a strategic working group to consider the broader whole-system approach to ageing well and establishing and embedding physical activity as a solution.
- Establishing an operational alliance to consider the practical 'on the ground' operational issues that can be delivered to support the whole-system approach referenced above.
- Developing and rolling out a range of training material that helps and supports professionals across the older age ecosystem to understand the benefits of physical activity, how to promote these, and the opportunities available locally for older people to be physically active.
- Allocating financial resources to support the introduction of new programmes that will help some of the most vulnerable older residents to safely increase their levels of physical activity.
If you would like to know more about our work or are keen to get involved, please contact Alison Wright. Her contact details are provided below.
Project Lead, Live Longer Better
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