Age UK’s ‘Fit as a Fiddle’ wellbeing programme

This blog was contributed by Jackie Hayhoe, Fit as a Fiddle Portfolio Manager at Age UK.

Fit as a Fiddle, funded by the Big Lottery Wellbeing Fund Programme for £15.1 million, has been running for just over five years. It’s a holistic approach to improve the health and wellbeing of older people. 26 projects have been delivered in 9 English regions in partnership with over 400 community organisations, including 100 local Age UKs.

So why was the programme needed? In developing the programme research was East Mids Nordic Walking 2used which identified that older people who were not physically active were less able to do every-day tasks, for example 12% of over 65s could not walk outside on their own and 9% of over 65s could not manage stairs unaided.  The research also identified that older people themselves felt that making a contribution to society, such as volunteering, was good for their mental wellbeing. Continue reading “Age UK’s ‘Fit as a Fiddle’ wellbeing programme”

Wising up to what works

We are faced with unprecedented ageing.  Those over 85 will reach 2.8 million by 2030, a doubling of present numbers.  Such numbers are enough to raise panic in the Treasury, if the prevailing scenarios of cost are to be believed.

Conversely, I have always thought that we should celebrate our increased longevity as an enormous success story for society. I have been encouraged in my belief by the increasing evidence of the contribution that older people make and the progress that is being made, albeit slowly, in reducing the years we spend in ill health.

440x210_dr_blood-pressureSpeaking recently with media I was struck by the number of presenters who, like me, concluded that ‘we’re not really ready for this, are we?’  It is one thing to age and another to age well, but the revolution in longevity is going to completely re-structure society.

We will need new solutions, new approaches and most of all new evidence on what truly works.  Simply increasing expenditure in itself is not an option because there is little evidence that much – some would say any – of what we do is cost-effective. Consider the escalating NHS budget: £43.5bn in 1988; £64bn in 1998 and a staggering £120bn (8% of GDP) in 2008 – without any corresponding reduction in demand or focus on outcomes.

Continue reading “Wising up to what works”