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‘Well-being Weekend’ follows research showing 70 per cent of elders want activity

18th September, 2015

Research commissioned by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), the UK trade body for retirement villages and extra care housing, has revealed a majority of over 65s want to do more exercise, but face a range of practical and financial barriers.

The research comes as ARCO launches its first national ‘Well-being Weekend’ showcasing the active lifestyles of older people living in over 50 retirement communities, 16 of them run by The ExtraCare Charitable Trust.  (See below for a list of activities in Birmingham and across the Midlands).  

The research revealed that nationally 34% of people aged 65 or older identify themselves as ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ active. This corresponds with the national picture, where the average answer was over a third (1).

With the NHS recommending around 2.5 hours of moderate exercise and muscle strengthening per week for over 65s, the survey highlighted that older people may need more support to maintain active lifestyles.

1,000 people over 65 were surveyed across the UK. 70% of all respondents stated that they wished they were more physically active. 

Of those who were less active and who wanted to be more active, nearly one in four (2) indicated they did not use nearby facilities due to feeling self-conscious in environments (such as gyms) often dominated by young people. In addition, physical barriers also played a part, with over 37% of all respondents reporting medical reasons or injury as the main thing stopping them from exercising more.

Staying physically active in later life is crucial to maintaining health and wellbeing, as one in three over 65s suffers from a fall each year, costing the NHS £4.6m per day (Age UK). Falls account for over half of accidental injury admissions to hospital, and can be prevented by up to 55% by doing basic strength and balance exercises.

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said: “Our research shows that age is not in itself a barrier to physical activity. Many over 65s would like to be more active, but struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle due to barriers such as availability, cost and living alone. As the growth of over 65s is at record levels, the extent of the problem is only going to get bigger."

Earlier in the year, research by Aston University found that health care costs for residents in extra care villages run by The ExtraCare Charitable Trust are reduced by 38%. It found that unplanned hospital visits fell from 8-14 days to 1-2 days after 12 months of living in an ExtraCare Charitable Trust location, and even routine GP visits were reduced by 46% thanks to on-site wellbeing services.

Angela Bradford, Commissioning and Healthy Lifestyle Director at The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, said: “Our Charity’s health and well-being services are integrated into older people’s lifestyle aspirations and this means that they are living well for longer at a cost that is affordable for the individual and society. The ARCO research shows the demand people have to remain active and healthy and the Well-being Weekend is a great opportunity to show just how active and healthy older people can be.”

•    Berryhill Village (Stoke on Trent) -  Cycle challenge in the gym
•    Brunswick Gardens Village (Sheffield) – Village sports day  
•    Hagley Road Village (Birmingham) - Cycle challenge in the gym
•    Imperial Court (Northamptonshire) - Martial arts and fitness class with families in the gym
•    Lovat Fields Village (Milton Keynes) – Local bike ride
•    Pannel Croft Village (Birmingham) - Running, cycling rowing challenge in the gym
•    Reeve Court Village (St Helens, Merseyside) - ‘Great Wall of China Challenge’ in the gym
•    Rosewood Court (Wellingborough) – Sports day   
•    School Court (Hednesford) - 24 hour dance-a thon
•    Seagrave Court (Nottingham) – Gym open week   
•    St Crispin Village (Northampton) – Land’s End to John o’ Groats in the gym
•    St Oswald’s Village (Gloucester) - 500 mile cycle challenge in the gym
•    Terryspring Court (Redditch) – Walk in the local park
•    Sunley Court (Kettering) - Domino challenge  
•    Yates Court (Evesham) - Land’s End to John o’ Groats in the gym

Find out more about the ARCO Well-being Weekend

arco


For more information please contact The ExtraCare Charitable Trust communications team:
Lucy Henson.  M:  0789 105 3062 lucy.henson@extracare.org.uk
Geraldine Sheridan.  M: 07973 168461  gs@realpeoplecommunications.com
Richard Tower. M:  0772 055 3658. richard.tower@extracare.org.uk

About ARCO: www.arcouk.org
For information about the survey please contact:
Alex Delaney, alex@matterandco.com, 020 8533 8893/07709832453
Rachel Pidgeon, rachel@matterandco.com, 020 8533 8893/07503782489

Survey results in percentages:

(1) 34% of respondents across the UK aged 65 or older identify themselves as ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ active.
(2) 22% of those who want to be more active listed their reasons for not using nearby facilities as feeling self conscious in environments such as gyms often dominated by young people.

Sources:

Research commissioned by ARCO, and conducted by Censuswide with 1,000 over 65 year olds. The survey complies with the MRS Code of Conduct.

NHS guidelines: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-older-adults.aspx

Age UK
http://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-press/archive/falls-over-65s-cost-nhs