Intergenerational activity boosts mental and physical wellbeing
By Helen Vost - Managing Director, Youth Sport Trust International
Loneliness, poor health and emotional wellbeing and lack of physical activity are common issues facing older people today. Moreover they are also increasingly prevalent in children and young people. The global Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the situation over the past year and it is vital that steps are put in place to tackle the crisis as lockdown restrictions ease and life starts to return to a ‘new normal’.
Some of the facts
Population ageing is a global issue with the proportion of the world population aged over 60 years expected to rise from 12% to 22% by 2050.
Loneliness is one of the most pressing public health issues. There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people within the UK. 45% of children aged 1—15 years are lonely ‘some of the time’ or ‘often’.
There is a high prevalence of mental health concerns. 2 in 5 older people in care homes are affected by depression. 48% of young people are concerned about their mental health.
Nearly half of all people in Europe never take exercise or play sport. £92 million is the cost of physical inactivity in later life to the NHS every year. 57% of children and young people are not leading active lives.
Great Britain has become one of the most age segregated countries in the world.
So what is the solution?
There is evidence from across Europe that intergenerational activity is a key tool, not only to promote active ageing but also social inclusion and community cohesion. Evaluation of the Active Across Ages project has highlighted a range of benefits for all who took part – older people, children and young people and schools and practitioners.
For older people the biggest benefit was an improvement to their social wellbeing.
For younger people the benefits included development of skills (communication, teamwork and leadership) and improved wellbeing. 91% of young people felt that their resilience improved and 88% felt that their confidence improved.
For practitioners and schools the project helped to raise the profile of schools in their local community.
With ongoing support we can rollout the project, uniting generations to hep each other. THANK YOU
Feb 4, 2021
Pandemic highlights need for intergenerational act
By Helen Vost - Managing Director
Increasing feelings of isolation and loneliness have been reported in young and old people alike as the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic has reached its first year milestone. Schools have been closed again and young people remain cut off from their friends. It is also many months since older people in care homes have been able to receive family visitors although the roll out of a vaccine has thankfully started to provide protection against the virus. The Active Across Ages project remains more relevant than ever and, although challenging, young people have been encouraged to try to connect with older people digitally by setting up zoom meetings and facetime calls.
It has been inspiring to see many examples of older people taking on physical activity challenges to raise funds for a plethora of charities which have all been struggling with financial sustainability during the pandemic and then how young people, many with disabilities, who have been inspired by older people to take on their own physical activity challenges too raise funds.
The fun activity cards which were produced have been a great way to promote all manner of ways in which older people can stay active – be it ten-pin skittles, alphabet challenge, ballet warm-up, sock boccia or dancing days.
Your support has been so important to us and we look forward to face to face connections being re-established hopefully as early as the Spring.
Oct 8, 2020
Intergenerational activity to combat loneliness
By Helen Vost - Managing Director
The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic means that it is more important than ever to find ways of connecting younger people with older people to promote physical activity and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. The Active Across Ages project is continuing to do just that.
School closures and restricted access to care homes and other settings has posed many challenges for the project but young people have been maintaining contact by writing letters, making telephone calls and connecting digitally, thereby learning from each other to develop valuable new skills.
A series of fun activity cards have been produced, each highlighting a way in which an older person who is having to self-isolate or a group if they are COVID-19 free can enjoy being active. The cards are designed to help adults aged 65 and over meet the recommended weekly amount and type of physical activity. Ten-pin skittles, alphabet challenge, ballet warm-up, sock boccia and dancing days are some of the activities on offer.
Now we are working with new partners to find ways of connecting digitally so that the project can still flourish while social distancing measures are still in place.
Your support continues to make a huge difference to the lives of younger and older people alike. THANK YOU.