Siobhan Casey, Age Northern Ireland (NI), Ireland
Vicki Caddy, Age Northern Ireland (NI), Ireland
The long-lasting physical and mental impact of Covid-19 on older people and the associated risk of de-conditioning are major causes of concern for our ageing agenda. Loneliness, disruption to routines, lack of social contact with friends and families, increased levels of anxiety, reduced exercise and access to health, care and community services have had a significant impact on older people’s wellbeing.
In this session we will explore the development of a co-design partnership involving older people, the Public Health Agency NI, Age NI plus others to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of older people before and during the pandemic. It will cover the Frailty and Healthy Ageing research, undertaken which led a suite of Keeping Well at Home communication products, Move with Mary exercise videos, culminating in a NI-wide Good Vibrations programme to support older people to access practical guidance and resources on the Take Five Steps to Wellbeing. The online and offline assets aimed to encourage older people to Stay Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give and Connect and included 30 free online videos on exercise, nutrition, mindfulness as well as a digital wellbeing pilot programme.
An evaluation of the programme demonstrated the following results
- Be more aware of the need to maintain good mental health – 94%
- Use more online self-help tools and community support- 77%
- Be physically active on a daily basis – 94%
- Increase social contact- 84%
- Feel emotionally well and connected to my community- 84%
- Feel less isolated- 81%
- Be aware of the need to eat well- 89%
- Increase my social contact –81%
- Feel more safe and secure- 76%
The findings were further corroborated through measurement via The Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale which concluded that 53%of GV participants experienced a meaningful (3 to 8 point) change in mental wellbeing. Participant testimonials also substantiate the success of the programme.
- “Gave me more focus on my everyday life as I was just drifting along.”
- “Life was grey, featureless but I can now feel the sunshine more often”.
- “To make me more aware of the importance of actively working to improve my mental and physical wellbeing.’”
- “Interesting to see how others are doing and thereby feeling connected to a lot of people”
- “Highlights how I give frequently to others but rarely do anything for myself”
- “Given me the injection that I required to be motivated to exercise and significantly I have renewed contact with a friend.”
- “I’ve been reminded happiness is earned by friendship with family and friends”