Retirement wellbeing: choosing health and choosing life
It’s 17 years since the Department of Health published its Choosing Health White Paper which set out the case for active ageing in promoting health and well-being and it’s 20 years (!!) since our Well-being Programme became an integral part of life at our retirement villages and housing schemes. Were we ahead of the game? Well, we like to think so.
We launched the Well-being Programme back in 2002 following a survey that highlighted that 75% of residents at one of our retirement housing schemes hadn’t accessed any health screening via their GPs or the NHS. We undertook a pilot screening programme which identified that amongst a group of 136 people there were 122 previously undetected conditions; many of them potentially serious.
Our Well-being Programme, pump-primed by the Department of Health and now funded by donations and charitable support, is now established as a proactive health screening, information and advice service available to all ExtraCare residents. It regularly picks up previously undetected conditions and improves the quality of life and care of residents, whilst saving the NHS money and relieving pressure on local GPs.
We employ Well-being Advisors at each of our locations, offering our own assessment tool and screening programme based on 10 key factors:
• Bladder and Bowel Health
• Heart and Circulation
• Hearing and Sight
• Spiritual and Psychological Well-being
Each resident receives a Well-being Score and a radar diagram which provides them with a visual representation of their current health in the above areas and enables us to map their progress over time.
We also offer a drop-in service where any resident with health concerns or issues can meet with a Well-being Advisor to share their concerns and receive appropriate information, advice and guidance or referral to a GP for further investigation.
Our residents value our Well-being Service and research has proved that integrating preventative healthcare and screening services as part of our overall offering is better for residents and also for health-care commissioners, with a 38% reduction on total NHS costs for our residents.
Build Back Better – Celebrating the work of Bereavement Supporters in ExtraCare Villages during the pandemic
2020 has forced many of us to live a parallel mental life of ‘should have beens’ in our heads. Paper or online diaries give us (sometimes unwelcome) reminders of what we no longer have.
Dementia and Wellbeing Programme
Michael Spellman, Dementia & Mental Well Being Lead talks to us about the Dementia and Mental Wellbeing programme at The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, which aims to focus individually on how each person experiences their dementia, and provide care that responds to this specific knowledge.