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ADDING LIFE TO YEARS A community development approach to promoting the independence, health and wellbeing of older people. Meryl Smith Deputy Chief Executive,

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Presentation on theme: "ADDING LIFE TO YEARS A community development approach to promoting the independence, health and wellbeing of older people. Meryl Smith Deputy Chief Executive,"— Presentation transcript:

1 ADDING LIFE TO YEARS A community development approach to promoting the independence, health and wellbeing of older people. Meryl Smith Deputy Chief Executive, Oxfordshire Rural Community Council

2 The ALY project objective: Using a community development approach to find and support a service model which promotes the independence, health and well-being of people over 50. Project was funded over two years by the Oxfordshire PCT

3 ORCC research found older people want to “attend groups and be “in contact” ACO had already developed models of social and leisure activities as a base for promoting well-being + Services for older people Community infrastructure A partnership project

4 What did we do in 2008/09? Worked in identified communities Researched existing local resources: –people – local groups – other agencies involved Consulted community members: –what are the needs? what would you like? Established new activities Asked for participants’ views: –on the benefits and their interest in continuing

5 Project evaluation Assessed impact on participants and on volunteers supporting the groups Included selected examples of best practice (2 groups and 2 communities) Analysed participation in the context of local need –the proportion of older people reached Explored methods of developing a cost/benefit analysis.

6 Key findings Community-led prevention takes time, resources (including local volunteers) and effective partnership working Community groups are improving older people’s lives: ( two thirds believed that participation made a difference to their physical health, mental activity and knowledge) In particular, groups have reached older people at risk of isolation Older people are participating as volunteers and contributing to essential community infrastructure Identifying long term cost savings from community-led prevention is difficult This project and national research indicate potential for long term quality of life and health benefits

7 Clearly demonstrated the benefits of social interaction and opportunities to remain active physically and mentally in order to sustain or improve health and wellbeing

8 Health & wellbeing for everyone in their community Social and activity groups and networks Community infrastructure and community capacity RELY ON Access to information Mutual support Social interaction Mental and physical stimulation “Drop in” opportunities Physical activity groups Hobbies/special interest groups Cultural events Faith groups Village hall or community centre Local shop, community transport, volunteers, community champions, community action, community-led plans, good neighbourliness For example …... Community-led prevention: the health and well-being service model

9 “Older people as part of the team” Empower people to take action for themselves Encourage a range of activities to improve wellbeing (not necessarily labelled as ‘healthy’) Reach those who: –may not be engaged in the health agenda –may not view themselves as “old” ORCC approach in 2009/10: a holistic community-based approach to promoting health and well-being for all

10 Working with communities we: helped them to identify what local people would like/need encouraged the needs of older people to be included in community-led planning consultation provided ideas for new activities/opportunities encouraged mini information fairs and local directories promoted idea of inviting speakers from key agencies to local group meetings/drop-ins etc. encouraged improved links and dialogue between communities and social and healthcare providers

11 Emphasis on promoting opportunities for people of all ages to share interests, skills and support: older people as “part of the team”

12 ALY approach: promoting community-based initiatives to help older people to: have opportunities for social interaction which contribute to improved knowledge, physical and mental health and overall wellbeing benefit from a strong community infrastructure of activities, services and facilities stay active their community access preventive services in the community

13 Community development: key component of health and social care services ALY has demonstrated the value and relevance of the community-based community development approach to promoting health and wellbeing. Community development support organisations like RCCs are key partners and essential service providers alongside the specialist health and care agencies. This needs to be recognised.

14 My contact details: Meryl Smith Deputy Chief Executive Oxfordshire Rural Community Council Jericho Farm, Worton, Witney, OX29 4SZ Tel:


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