How dance classes can be of real benefit to older people

We were pleased to read the news at the weekend reporting that the NHS is recommending dance classes for older people to help them to stay fit and healthy and reduce their risk of having a fall.

We certainly need to do something to prevent falls and fractures among the over-65s as they account for over 4 million hospital bed days each year in England alone and are a serious threat to older people’s self-confidence and independence: about 1 in 10 older people who have fallen are afraid to leave their homes in case they fall again.

Only 10% of the older population do as much physical exercise as is recommended by doctors and research with older people has also found that dance classes are much more popular and engaging than traditional falls prevention programmes. For many older people, an approach which is about being active and social can be much more appealing than simply trying to prevent something.

Continue reading “How dance classes can be of real benefit to older people”

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”