Elders Age Well programme – project update

2nd Aug 2021

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Our Elders team continues to run a successful Age Well programme for local older people in Battersea. Here’s a short update about the teams work.

  • 47 active members since October’20- July’21.
  • Membership is 80% female, 20% male, with ages ranging from 55 to 84.
  • All are resident living in Wandsworth, with 60% coming from the Battersea. Six members are carers.
  • Since January’21 Age Well has run 72 one-hour groups, including 32 exercise classes, some with falls prevention. And made more than 200 phone calls providing support and developing the confidence of local older people.

Many of the elders report as feeling low mentally or have clinical mental health issues including psychosis.  The majority of referrals via Social Prescribers were due to this. Social anxiety and low mood are prevalent issues.

Our Age Well worker has ensured that KLS now monitor on their database who has had falls to increase awareness raising. The worker and the manager also supported the PNA research and identified need reported in it. Guidance for Walks Policy, Exercise Policy and Volunteer Role Descriptions were developed.

KLS sees the Age Well support given over Zoom as not replacing in-person work, but linear and equal to/of real value during lockdown, and post lockdown. Different types of members such as carers, mental health and the housebound have accessed these sessions that would otherwise have not engaged.

Activities

Since 1 January-31 July 2021 we have provided:

  • 200 +1:1 telephone support/confidence building
  • 72 group sessions total
  • 32 purposeful walking craft packs created with uplifting activities to do/create without support in a KLS bag. Lavender Hill and Bridge Lane Surgeries. As a way to encourage people to find out more about Age Well. Instructions and packs made up for therapeutic activity at home and to encourage walking outside.
  • 30 exercise and wellbeing socials including strength, flexibility, cardio vascular, work and balance
  • 18 drawing classes/socials
  • 13 storytelling classes
  • 5 National Trust (575 Wandsworth Road) creative, reminiscence and educational activities
  • 3 well-being tips with Talk Wandsworth
  • 3 routes checked for low level/medium planned walks to get people out and moving
  • 3 zoom sessions with an art therapist
  • 2 quiz socials
  • 2 reminiscence sessions with Writerz and Scribes
  • 1 National Trust Zoom tour
  • 2 health and wellbeing talks with Wandsworth CCG, including a Winter Wellbeing session and Covid Vaccine Talk
  • 1 talk from KLS Elders Team
  • 1 boule/ park social picnic and stroll in Battersea Park to introduce members and support them to become active.
  • Giving away gardening seeds to encourage members to grow things and exercise bands to do stretching exercise at home to maintain mobility.
  • 17 Age Well members were referred to KLS Tech Up project, 3 referred to KLS elders befriending service and 3 are attending national creative classes / regular art classes.

The service developed a collaborative art project in February to produce a piece of art work ‘what well-being means to elders’ which aims to produce a piece of art work to display working with a KLS volunteer.

Age well Members are also supported to attend other zoom groups: including in the evening and at the weekend, and supported to zoom with family. Members were taught to take and send photos by WhatsApp. Some became confident to use zoom for their medical appointments. The individual home exercise programme included a month-long step counting accountability programme, to increase individual exercise outputs set by clients for wellbeing.

Partnership Work

The service continues to develop its partnership work including

  • Writerz and Scribez intergenerational project
  • National Trust art sessions
  • Talk Wandsworth wellbeing sessions
  • Battersea Society offering an historical walk around Clapham
  • Attending talks with Occupational Therapy and Wandsworth Council Workers
  • Becoming involved in Wandsworth Council’s Falls Prevention programme review
  • Scoping future partnership with Brighter Together

“People have been telling me how good the park picnic/boules has been. Sounds great.” Feedback from a Wandsworth Social Prescriber

Members Stories 

Ms. K, aged 63, is physically active. She was referred from Wandsworth Social Prescribers. It took 4 calls to start the engagement process. She has had two mental breakdowns, is nervous of Covid and has social anxiety. She wants to attend the Zoom groups but lacks confidence.  Ms K was asked by our team to pick up a home crafting pack which she has agreed to do, as a start to build her self-confidence. She is being referred to our Tech Up project for help with her IT.

Miss P, aged 75, is a carer for her daughter who has a life limiting condition and is also a falls risk herself due to health conditions. “It’s a privilege to have access to such wonderful Zoom events and to meet such extraordinary people. I love hearing about their lives. I didn’t think I would enjoy storytelling – and I do and I didn’t not think I would enjoy Zoom but I really do. We have all come so far. I really hope they continue for people like me they really enrich my life. Thank you.”

Mrs. M, aged 71, second language is English. She lives with husband and cares for her grandson. She was referred by Wandsworth Social Prescribers due to her mental health. She was given a laptop by KLS. She needs lots of prompting to attend. She has health issues that limit her mobility and put on weight during Lockdown.

To support Mrs M, a Tech Up Digital Champion did several doorstep visits to learn how to turn it on and use it. She needed a lot of 1-2-1 support, her family were not supportive. She loves creating stories about Camels during story telling. She now attends everything regularly and never misses a session – but does need prompting. She had never drawn before but now really enjoys the art session. Now everyone cheers when she arrives and she has her own catch phrases people use with her “Enjoy the journey” is one of them as its often used to encourage the group and she uses a lot herself now. Our worker sets members challenges and Mrs M’s challenge is to try and come to the next picnic session in a local park with her son. Our Tech Up project will help her to learn how to use her camera.

Mrs L is also receiving telephone befriending from KLS and said: “The calls and Zoom are my lifeline. This has changed my life! Thank you for telling me to live in the minute while I’m in it! And stop waiting for hospital appointments. I’m no   longer waiting and stressed. I’m living! I’ve been sunbathing, gardening and I am no longer depressed! (My son) says he has a new mum!”. 

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