The Strength in Old Age Programme promotes active ageing

Karvinen E, Starck H, Kalmari P, Säpyskä-Nordberg M, Salminen U
Age Institute, Helsinki, Finland

VII EUROPEAN CONGRESS Healthy And Active Ageing For All Europeans ”II”
17.4.2011 Bologna, Italy

Background

The national Strength in Old Age Programme (2005-2014) promotes the autonomy of independently living older adults (75+) with decreased functional capacity. This is achieved by creating counselling and muscle strength and balance exercise services for the target group. The programme is coordinated by the Age Institute and financed by the Finnish Slot Machine Association, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and the Ministry of Education.

Objectives

To create good practices for older people´s health exercise in the following issues:
How to: 1. find and reach the target group and counsel and motivate them, 2. carry out high quality exercise, transport and assistance, 3. recruit and train supervisors, 4. create multisectorial cooperation, and 5. involve older people to participate in the development of the activities.

Methods

In the first five years of the programme, good practices for older people’s health exercise were developed in 35 organisations of health and social care. Mentoring by the Age Institute supports the creation of good practices. Mentoring promotes local cooperation between public sector, non-governmental organizations and private sector and enforces the skills of professionals and peers with the help of training and learning materials. The extensive communication of the programme promotes positive attitudes.

Results

According to the extensive internal and external evaluation the programme has increased cross-sectorial cooperation, improved the expertise of the actors, increased exercise services for older people with decreased functional capacity and improved the physical condition of the target group. According to the feedback from older adults, participation in exercise activities has improved their functional capacity, increased their social contacts, and improved their mood.

The programme has gained such a positive response that it has inspired many municipalities to apply for the three-year development and implementation process coordinated by the Age Institute.

Conclusion

A growing network of cooperation around the Strength in Old Age Programme has been formed in Finland, and this network will further promote the inclusion and active ageing of older people.

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