Initial findings from Elders ‘Age Well’ research

Initial finding from a recent Needs Assessment in Battersea

We’ve been commissioned by Wandsworth Council to run an Age Well programme here in Battersea (the other being in Roehampton that Hestia are managing). Age Well aims to enable local older people to retain, gain or regain independence. It will support older residents with a variety of services, delivered from various community venues across Battersea.

Age Well builds on the growing evidence that older people are able to contribute to and receive support from their community, when they live in age-friendly communities, that are designed to encourage physical activity, healthy eating and bring people of all ages together.

One of the initial things we’ve done is conduct a ‘participatory needs assessment’ to find out what older people are currently doing and what support they want from an Age Well service in the future.


By going out and talking to people in the community we will be able to:

  • Build a picture of assets and concerns of older people and support organisations in Battersea
  • Map existing services and tease out new ideas for Elders activities/projects/services
  • Build relationships and networks with local elders and partners – the foundation for success of all future work


Our Elders team have, so far, talked to 54 elders over the phone, during a 4-week period (end-May to June), using a semi-structured interview.

  • 80% were women and 20% men.
  • The oldest was 93 and the youngest 61.
  • Average age was 77.
  • 80% were KLS elders and 20% non KLS elders (not known to us prior to lockdown).


We asked elders:

1. What did you do with your spare time before lockdown?

The elders questioned were fairly active, even those with limited mobility. The most common activities being exercise based (48%).

  • Some form of exercise = 26 (KLS exercise class 5, KLS dance class 13, exercise at home 1, chair exercise KLS 3, Latchmere exercise 2, Tai Chi 1, Yoga 1,).
  • Spending time with friends =12 (coffee with friends 3, shopping with friends 1, see friends 8)
  • Walking = 9
  • Arts and crafts = 6 (pottery 1, art 1, sewing/knitting 2, crafting 1. crochet 1)
  • Gardening, watching tv, writing = all scored 5
  • Reading and church = all scored 4
  • KLS Contact Club = scored 3
  • Listen to music, Puzzles, Zoom/using pc. = all scored 2
  • The following all scored 1= board games, Lanes Centre, travel, bus ride, cinema, bird watching, KLS lunch club, Cooking, still working.
  • 40% had issues getting to activities due to transport needs for all of them this was due to health issues.

2. Activities attended in Battersea already (pre-lockdown)

The most common activities were exercise based (again). This bias may be due to us completing the interviews with members from KLS and those that we were put into contact with by word of mouth. We will address this post lockdown.

  • 70% questioned attended an activity already.
  • KLS exercise = 18
  • Contact Club at Dimson Lodge = 4 (a KLS related activity)
  • Exercise sessions = not KLS -5 (Friday class 1, 4 exercise at St Johns Hill)
  • All scoring 2 = Church, Men’s Shed, visit the library and bingo (Dimson Lodge)
  • All scoring 1 = Battersea WI, restaurants and KLS lunch club

3. Activities you would like in Battersea

We asked respondents what activities they might like to attend in Battersea, without offering suggestions (which some did ask for).

  • 63% said they did not know.
  • 35% gave a variety of suggestions – see below. The most common activities asked for were exercise based. This may be due to the previous question.
  • Exercise class = 11 (including organised walks in the park 2, bowls club 1, gym 1, women’s only sport in the day time 1)
  • Coffee morning = 5
  • A film club = watching old movies in company 2
  • Dancing = 4 (Tea dance 2 Disco 2)
  • Evening social clubs = 5 (1 asked that a meal be included, 2 asked for quizzes specifically, 1 asked for evening entertainment)
  • Live entertainment = 3 (1 asked for evening entertainment)
  • All scored 1 = drawing and painting, board games club, a lunch club, computer classes, music, drama club, and creative writing

The answers raised some questions: that some elders did not realise some activities already exist, so signposting is needed going forward (e.g. walking groups in Battersea Park, KLS lunch club).

4. Fears around life after lockdown

We wanted to know how people were feeling during lockdown and how they were feeling about returning to a post lockdown ‘new normal’.

  • 42% had fears about returning to normal life.
  • 42% did not.
  • 8% were not sure.
  • 8% did not answer.

“I am frightened to go back out. My daughter wouldn’t let me anyway. I have a rich cardiovascular history and I need to be careful.” Male, 86

“I have COPD and all this has made me nervous. I only go to the corner and back.”  Female, 70

“I’ve not stopped going out. I can’t stay in these four walls all day it would drive me insane.” Male, 80

Table 1. Fears about life after lockdown

[Each pair of comments below relate to the same person. Repetitive comments have not been included.]

What are your fears? What would make you feel better?
Mixed messages from politicians. Anxiety about health issues. I have COPD and fear catching the virus. I don’t want to attend groups. I feel I need to stay away from people.
I have a fear of contracting the virus as I have underlying health issues I wouldn’t want to see lots of people.
Fear of the virus 2 metre distancing and small social groups
I want to have normal interactions. No concerns Wearing masks hand washing
My health as my family are anxious about me coming back A major reduction in the level of Covid-19 in public
The journey to and from activities distancing, wearing gloves and face masks.
My health Hand sanitizer & anything that will keep us safe. I know KLS will keep us safe.
Too many people going out
I have underlining sickness. Too many people. I need to check about my diabetes with the doctor.
Anxiety. Husband’s health Hopefully it will be over

5. Online Activities for Elders

We asked about the elder’s interest in online activities (in case of future lockdowns, as well as to enhance access to online activities and services in general).

  • 50% were interested in online activities when specifically asked. But only 10% raised this as a request/suggestion without prompting.
  • 60% had access to the internet either through their phone (50%) or via a pc/laptop (60%)

Those that were interested wanted the following – (they suggested)

  • Exercise via zoom 4, social groups on zoom 2, video chat if locked down again 1, learning activities run by a speaker 1

Most were unclear as to what being online could offer them. Only 20% used the internet currently. For three elders this was to remain in contact with family via Messenger or Skype. One elder used Zoom to attend online classes and planned to run his own online lecture series about Archaeology in the future, if he could be given trialling on how to use Zoom as a presenter. KLS Elders Manager has offered to support with this.

What next?

We plan to continue with these interviews post-lockdown, but only with elders not known to KLS.

The Elders team will begin returning to the centre from August onwards, and we will update the results accordingly.


If you’d like to take part please contact Sarah Goodall on [email protected] and 020 7223 2845. We look forward to hearing from you.

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