Move Together: The wider impact
Posted: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:04
"Once I started moving, everything seems to get better."
We're living in incredibly uncertain times. The news is dominated by the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing issues both around the world and right here in Britain. It's important for all of us to keep moving, but this is especially vital for our more vulnerable residents, including older people and those living with long term health conditions. That's where Move Together comes in.
In this blog, we're reflecting on the impact of Move Together so far. It's been wonderful to learn the impact the program is having, beyond simply moving more, including reducing social isolation, loneliness and sign posting to other resources to help people live better.
Alongside introducing more movement into their lives, participants have strengthened social networks and benefited from guidance on other support available, and other services available to help them live better, such as Pension Credit,Age UK, Royal Voluntary Service, Oxfordshire Mind.
"I'm exercising more and have made some social connections through my Zumba classes which have led to other social things like lunch clubs and meeting new people to talk to and share activities & ideas to know what else is out there."
We have been pleased to learn the different ways people have been positively impacted through Move Together. In July alone, 413 activities were signposted through Move Together, they ranged from exercise classes, gardening, and included mental health services and social activities to reduce isolation alongside fitness and walking groups.
"It has changed my life. After meeting the team, got the help I needed and structured routine in day. I am more aware of movement. Once I started moving, everything seems to get better."
The elderly in our society are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, and it can have a serious effect on health. According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Move Together is here for people feeling lonely, isolated, stressed and/or overwhelmed, in order to introduce more movement into their lives.
Here's a snapshot of the difference that Move Together is making:
- 38% of participants have decreased their levels of loneliness.
- 11% of participants reported an improvement in their ability to self-care at the 3 month review, 79% maintained their existing levels of self-care, meaning overall 90% of participants maintained or improved their ability to self-care over the period they were engaged with Move Together. Performing tasks of daily living is important to maintaining independence.
- 60% report an improvement in their attitude towards accessing activity.
- 55% report an increase in confidence in undertaking activity alone.
- 45% report improvement in their understanding of healthy lifestyles.
"I have really enjoyed all the support that I have had over the phone, I feel like I have had more support from you than my own GP in regards to the kind of support that is out there around my physical and mental health. This has really helped to motivate me and give me the push that I have needed."
Age is no barrier to being active. One Move Together participant found out about the opportunity through a flyer in their Council Tax bill:
"I lost my wife last June through Parkinsons, whilst she was alive she was under the care of physios and all kinds of people came to the house. I regularly did the exercises with her to make sure she did them. Since I lost her I have been very remiss. Until lockdown I had been going to a weekly session run by Age Concern but with lockdown and losing my wife I got very remiss my mobility got less and less. They came and saw me, they looked at how I was moving around the house and watched me do various things, so they spent some time talking to me and assessing what they thought I needed. She did a sequence of exercises, she was doing them and me repeating them to show what level I ought to be doing...it had spurred me on, it came at just the right moment for me. Such nice people, I got on with them well and enjoyed them coming, what a wonderful service to offer."
We also thank the Move Together volunteers for their contribution to developing and delivering this program. One volunteer found out about Move Together through the village Facebook group and was offered the opportunity to do a seated exercise training course. They were motivated by the opportunity to help out with something they felt passionate about:
"I wanted to volunteer but I hadn't seen things that I fancied doing, then I thought this might be a good thing to do that I would enjoy."
Although the exercise is important, the volunteers agreed that the social opportunity is also an important feature. "I think the benefit of it is socially as well. Yes, there is the physical side of things, they benefit from doing the movement but the social element is also important."
Would you benefit from Move Together, or do you know someone who would?
We understand the difficulties that affect many of us being active and the uncertainty about how to get started. Many of us are anxious, nervous or have long-term health conditions and require support. Moving more, in a way that works for you, is hugely beneficial. Being active is about finding what works for you and Move Together coordinators can provide advice, motivation and signposting to a variety of activities and other services available throughout the county and nationwide.