With 16% of over 65’s in Southampton reporting high levels of social isolation in their daily lives, the need for helping the older generation maintain their independence has never been stronger.
On July 4th 2018, Saints Foundation adopted the well-known American holiday for an ‘Independence Day’ of their own, inviting local organisations and participants from their Generation Gains programme to St Mary’s to lead the discussion on how best to help over-65’s maintain their independence.
Representatives from organisations such as The NHS, British Gas and Communicare were invited to present and deliver demonstrations to over 100 participants from the Zurich Community Trust funded Generation Gains programme.
Matt Baker, British Gas’ Vulnerability Manager, delivered a presentation on their Friends Against Scams programme, raising awareness on scams, fraud on the elderly, and how to recognise its threat.
“Events like this are brilliant because they get people talking,” Matt says. “And they remove a lot of the fear and stigma that comes from talking about sensitive issues like this.”
“It’s also great to see Southampton FC and Saints Foundation doing work like this in the local community, football is all about community and bringing people together, so this is great to see.”
Ensuring the older generation can maintain their independence also has a knock-on effect for other organisations in the local community.
“Usually in the NHS we tend to get the people when they are already frail or suffering from isolation,” Sally Ann Belward, Southampton NHS’s Falls Clinical Lead Physiotherapist commented. “If we can get to people when they are still independent, we can work on keeping them in that condition.”
With 100 participants attending the Independence Day event, and a further 400 engaging in the wider Generation Gains programme, the positive effect on them can be boundless.
“After having a stroke in 2017, I had 6 months of therapy with Sally Ann with the NHS,” Sister Maisie Nevin said. “And from the NHS I was referred onto Saints Foundation’s sessions.”
“It’s such good fun. I really look forward to it because of how relaxed and helpful the sessions are, and this is down to how well it’s explained by Paul, Marion and the rest of the team.”
“If someone was in the same position I was, I would encourage them to get involved with Saints Foundation straight away, because they have helped me so much.”
If you know someone who would benefit from joining the Generation Gains programme or want to know more then please contact Paul Hedges at [email protected]