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Inclusive communities: opportunities and challenges in older age: Participating in social and creative programmes for older people. Dr. Áine Ní Léime,

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Presentation on theme: "Inclusive communities: opportunities and challenges in older age: Participating in social and creative programmes for older people. Dr. Áine Ní Léime,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Inclusive communities: opportunities and challenges in older age: Participating in social and creative programmes for older people. Dr. Áine Ní Léime, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway. Active Ageing, Creative Ageing and quality of life.

2 23 October, 2013 ‘The process of optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age’ (WHO, 2002) WHO recommends that the state and NGO’s should provide such opportunities Active Ageing :

3 Why participate in social/leisure activities? Social activities: Enhances quality of life, delays cognitive decline. Physical activities: Help prevent diseases; reduce depression; combats memory impairment Cultural activities: Enhances self-esteem; sense of mastery/ control 23 October, 2013

4 Active Ageing: the challenges Problematising ‘active ageing’: are some people excluded? Is it accessible for all groups ? Whose responsibility is it to maximise participation? –Individual, NGO’s, the state? Why is it important? –Demographic ageing –Decline of traditional opportunities for continued participation farming, church, shops, pubs, particularly in rural areas

5 23 October, 2013 What is Active Retirement Ireland? (ARI) 550 Active Retirement Associations (ARAs) 23,000 members (est.) 27 years - as yet no assessment of impact European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between the Generations, 2012. Aim: To encourage members to maintain their independence and to participate in social contacts and self-help activities of a cultural, educational and sporting nature aimed at enhancing quality of life

6 Aim of research Assess: motivations for joining impact of membership of an ARA on the quality of life (QoL) of its members. Impact on community Identify barriers to joining an ARA. Implications for policy? Implications for research 23rd October, 2013

7 23 October, 2013 Mixed methods evaluation Self-completion questionnaire posted to: –all 541 chairpersons of ARAs –341 surveys to members Focus groups: Five (6-8 members) Interviews with: 20 members and 8 non-members

8 23 October, 2013 Research findings Response rate: –chairpersons’ survey: 50% (270/541) –members’ survey: 62% (210/341) All respondents: 77% female, 23% male Committee members : 76% female, 25% male Members: 79% female, 21% male

9 Motivations: life transitions Bereavement: ‘I was widowed and was feeling a bit lost and lonely and I felt that this (ARA) could suit me’ Retirement; loss of social networks: ‘When I worked, I was always involved with large groups of people I had lots of contacts. I didn’t realise when I retired I had lost that’ Returning to an area: ‘Well, I came back from England having been there for 43 years and came back close to where I came from, but of course people had moved on and I had lost contact to a great extent... and I went (to an ARA) and it was a great way of getting back into the community and getting to know people’ 23rd October, 2013

10 Types of activities Physical Activities: swimming; walking; Go-for Life; bowls; other (61%-27%). Social activities: tea-dances; short holidays; day tours; coffee mornings (96- 75%). Cultural activities: theatre; Bealtaine; museums; other, opera (79-33%) Educational activities: Information; guest speakers; other; arts and crafts; PC and mobile phone training (83 % - 27%) 23rd October, 2013

11 The average QoL score for the group is 46.5 Males: 46 Females: 44 TILDA 42.7; ELSA 42.5 Score lower than 19 indicates absence of QoL Maximum Score Achievable is 57 Conclusion: respondents have good QoL Quality of Life (CASP-19 scale)

12 Loneliness Average loneliness score: –ARI study =1.47: TILDA = 2 (Timonen et al., 2011) Members = 1.73; ACM = 1.37 ‘For me, the quality of life it’s given me from loneliness to not having time to bless myself now in this organisation. It’s just made me very, very active and aware.’ –[Source: Female ARA member Focus group] 23 rd October, 2013

13 Challenges: Barriers to joining Perceptions: –“for older people – I’m not drooling yet, you know” –For women. Difficult to access for people with less mobility Lack of transport in rural areas Shyness – difficult to take the initial step. Those without networks excluded, unless targeted They recommend “the personal ask”, transport etc 23rd October, 2013

14 Participating in the Bealtaine arts festival:

15 23 October, 2013 What is Bealtaine? Annual national month-long festival that celebrates creativity in older age Includes several art forms: –dance, literature, visual arts, theatre, film, music Involves multiple agencies: –local authorities, national cultural institutions, libraries, HSE, active retirement and community groups, regional arts centres co-ordinated by Age and Opportunity. Annual theme

16 23rd October, 2013 Music, Dance, Opening ceremony

17 23rd h October, 2013 ICSG evaluation of Bealtaine Assess impact of Bealtaine: –on older participants well-being and social gain for older people involvement in the community solidarity among older people 26 counties; over 100,000 people, over 450 organisations

18 23rd October, 2013 Impact on participants Findings – according to participants –Bealtaine improves well-being, psychological outlook, self-esteem –creates social connections and enhances social relationships (95%) –facilitates personal development – skills etc. (89%) –engagement in community (87%) –facilitates self-expression (87%) –improved my quality of life (86%)

19 Impact on participants Personal development : – “You learn a lot... when I started I knew practically nothing about modern art … it gives you an open mind, that you take a thing in … you look and examine” (visual arts programme participant) Self-expression : –“I have to say I have found my voice since joining in this group” (member of writer’s group)

20 23rd October, 2013 social cohesion –“It has broken down the walls of the hospital and it has involved everyone, especially the community.. (Bealtaine organiser in a hospital) engagement with the community –“I’m out and about more and meeting people. I’m also becoming more aware of people and their needs” (member of Active Retirement Association) –“I’m aware of what’s going on in the community” Impact on participants and communities

21 23rd October, 2013 Social networking: –“I have formed a big circle of friends who are interested in similar activities” (member of writer’s group) Quality of life: –“It gave me a new lease of life. I’m a widow and I live alone. It’s marvellous to have something to get out for – to get involved in and then to forget your pains and aches and get completely immersed in the whole thing” (inter-generational programme in drama) Social impacts for participants

22 Enhances role of older people in community Inter-generational programmes; getting to know younger people in area for first time; advising; passing on skills. Local identity Setting up their own writer’s groups in their own communities Knock-on effects: people have gone on to join community groups and be involved in fund-raising Groups who were isolated: e.g. people in residential centres have opened up to the community 23rd October, 2013

23 23rd h October, 2013 Opportunities: Participating in creative programmes like Bealtaine and social groups like ARI is very beneficial: –for mental and physical well-being of participants –encourages older people to become involved in other community activities Challenges for inclusivity: –State should support such participation. –Need to target hard to reach groups: men; older people; those without transport, impaired mobility Conclusions:

24 23rd October, 2013 Theme for Bealtaine 2007: “Forever Begin” Though we live in a world that dreams of ending, That always seems about to give in, Something that will not acknowledge conclusion, Insists that we forever begin. (from “Begin” by Brendan Kennelly)

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