Helping Torbay’s elderly stay active during coronavirus lockdown

Jane Reddaway, occupational therapist falls prevention lead for Torbay

Jane Reddaway, occupational therapist falls prevention lead for Torbay - Credit: Archant

Staying active in order to remain independent during the pandemic lockdown is hard but there is now extra help from the local NHS trust and Torbay Council.

Additional online support and leaflets are now available to support over-70s who face the challenge of maintaining their wellbeing while having to shield themselves from being infected by coronavirus.

It was an issue that Jane Reddaway, the falls prevention lead, Andy Simpson, from the healthy lifestyles team at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, and Julia Chisnell, consultant in public health at Torbay public health team, decided to tackle by providing information sheets on activities that people could complete at home during lockdown.

Together, they have developed information sheets on evidence-based activity and exercise, that older people can undertake while at home during lockdown.

More than 300 information sheets have already been sent out with meals for those who are shielding.

Jane said: 'We were particularly concerned about the potential increase in frailty and therefore falls, the loss of strength and balance, and the general loss of independence and wellbeing.

'It was remarkably simple to pull the leaflet together; we had all the information there and just had to bring it together as a brief guide for people to use.

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'The feedback so far has been positive from people who are accessing online information, including bite-size information and videos on functional movement, saying that they are useful in making a difference to their everyday lives.'

Jane said the future depends on what the new normal looks like. 'If we can't get people to groups then we will have to consider something a bit more long-term, including the use of technology that some of this age group will be new to.'

However, she is certain the information sheets have a role to play inhelping keep people active.

The leaflets can be accessed online at Torbay Council website under 'activity and exercise'. Other public health messages are also available.

Jane also has supplies of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists 'Get up and Go' booklet a guide to staying steady and independent for the over-70s.