Helping Gwynedd’s older people to live full and independent lives. That’s the aim of the Gwynedd Ageing Well Plan, a new Gwynedd Council initiative, which outlines some of the activities already taking place as well as recommended action points for further development.
The Gwynedd Ageing Well Plan outlines how the Council considers the needs of the elderly in providing services to the residents of the county. The plan also considers how to make progress locally in the following fields:
– Create age-friendly communities
– Communities that support people with dementia
– Prevention falls
– Preventing loneliness
– Opportunities for learning and employment.
Ann Pari Williams from Gwynedd Council’s Housing and Wellbeing Department, who was responsible for compiling the report said: “People are living longer, and the needs and aspirations of older people today are very different from what they were years ago.
“All surveys show that older people want to stay in their own homes and be as independent as possible. It is also clear that communities that are friendly and supportive to older people are crucial to enable them to continue to enjoy life. The Ageing Well Plan looks at good practice in terms of social activities as well as further steps we can take.”
Councillor Gareth Roberts, the Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing on Gwynedd Council, added: “As well as being a valuable source of information on the excellent work that is already taking place, the Gwynedd Ageing Well Plan also offers a clear vision for the future.
“We all have a responsibility to help develop the necessary support for a growing number of older people. The Plan shows the need for effective partnership working between all departments of the Council, and also between the Council and various third sector organisations and the wider public.”
With an increasing number of households of only one older resident living alone, tackling loneliness is a priority and some success stories may already be familiar to us all.
For example, did you see the S4C programme ‘Hen Blant Bach’ which aired over Christmas? The scheme drew inspiration from projects in other countries, and involved toddlers and older people enjoying joint activities at the Maesincla Day Centre in Caernarfon. Plans are in the pipeline to develop this successful pilot scheme further.
Another popular initiative – the ‘Music Memories’ project at Gellilydan and Bala links the generations through song. The project, run by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias has seen older people coming together to sing songs that are familiar to them, and children from Ysgol Gynradd Gellilydan and Ysgol Bro Tryweryn learning the same songs. Now, the children and older people are coming together in joint singing sessions.
Expanding the provision of physical exercise opportunities for older people is another key recommendation in the Gwynedd Ageing Well Plan; with several Council staff members qualified to work with older people and are adapting activities to suit them.
The Dementia GO scheme, run by the Leisure Service, has also proved to be a great hit. The scheme, which takes place at five leisure centres, involves people living with dementia taking part in energetic activities for an hour and then socialising over a cup of tea or coffee at the end. Of the 380 who have followed the sessions over a period of six months, 90% said that they that proved to be of benefit to their health and physical strength.
The Gwynedd Ageing Well Plan can be seen on the Council’s website: www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/ageingwell