This area of activity is extremely varied and far reaching. It is about utilising the knowledge and life experiences of older people in Salford and making their lives better by listening and valuing their views and ensuring this knowledge is used to influence the improvement of services and build stronger communities.
The community assets groups seeks to strengthen the support networks and groups already in place and also to help communities work together to find solutions to those problems that currently prevent older people remaining active and independent members of their community.
The group – which meets monthly – includes a wide range of partners, including mature people, Salford City Council, Salford University, housing providers, local businesses, charities, social enterprises, and third sector organisations, all working across a number of areas including housing, volunteering, befriending and leisure and health improvement connections.
The group also looks to address the barriers which affect older people and increase the risk of social isolation, loneliness or depression. The barriers identified are:
- Limited physical activity;
- Lack of access to information
- Not eating well
- Not engaged in activity.
By looking at these barriers we will be able to:
- Reduce emergency admissions
- Improved quality of life for users and carers
- Increase the proportion of people that feel supported to manage their own condition
Some of the work carried out by the community assets group to date includes:
Organising some prevention and wellbeing activity; ensuring access to activity; advice and guidance for older people to stay healthy and well, and managing their own health and wellbeing in their own neighbourhood. The aim here was to help reduce emergency admissions and re-admissions.
This took the form of limited physical activity – Step up classes.
The Step Up Postural Stability Maintenance Programme offered a one-hour weekly class and aimed to improve the strength, stamina and balance of clients. Step Up clients were also encouraged to complete regular home-based exercises throughout the week at home.
Those attending the programme reported gaining more confidence in managing health, reduced fear of falling, increased social interaction, reported improvements in mobility, function, balance and general wellbeing and mood.
Tech & Tea
Here, working with Salix Homes, we have run a progamme of ‘tech and tea’ sessions within sheltered housing schemes, aimed at helping older people gain a better understanding around new technology and the benefits it can provide.
The sessions were delivered over five weeks. The approach saw us talking to group members to understand their fears about new technology and help them overcome them. Both lap,tops and tablet technology were used, as some people felt more confident using tablets but could not develop the skills needed to use a laptop.
Not eating well – Malnutrition tools
We’ve worked to raise awareness and help to reduce the number of older people living in their own homes who suffer from malnutrition.
As part of the national malnutrition task force work we have been working with older people and professionals, we’ve helped develop a set of tools which can be used by older people to identify and help people who may not be eating well.
Identifying and developing community assets across Salford
Since January 2015, we’ve begun to identify those community assets across the city available to support older people.
Here, we have:
- Encouraged a joined-up approach within neighbourhoods to avoid duplication;
- Developed, facilitated the delivery and evaluated a community capacity building programme that will bring together a programme across the city of promoting the health and wellbeing and independence of older people in Salford;
- Supported development of small scale projects within neighbourhoods, both new and existing, through a neighbourhood fund;
- Supported activity in neighbourhoods to bring older people together to strengthen local voices and oversee the commitment of Salford to become an age-friendly city;
- Began visiting community asset across the city and raising awarness of Salford Together, completing wellbeing plans with older people and using the malnutrition tools to enage older people in conversation about eat well in latter life;
- Put plans in place for volunteers to visit two care homes once a week to support activity co-ordinators to provide group activities, such as bingo or art and craft sessions, or one-to-one activities’ like helping individual residents with life-story projects or providing companionship; and
- Through the network of partners who attend the monthly meetings(mentioned above), the community asset group have engaged with older people, inviting them to take part in workshops and focus groups to understand what is important to them to support their own health and well being.