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
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