Promoting a more active elderly lifestyle could save billions of pounds in health and social care costs, a new report says.
The study by not for profit health body ukactive and Life Fitness says innovative solutions for keeping older people active and independent can prevent a range of health problems, including coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke and a number of cancers.
ukactive CEO Steven Ward said: “We need to make physical activity the natural choice from cradle to grave and that means putting exercise – the miracle cure – at the heart of our health and social care systems, especially for older adults.”
With one in five of the UK population expected to be over 65 by 2025 and social care costing £100bn a year, the authors warn that failure to promote regularly physical activity among older adults could be “catastrophic”.
The report recommends a National Activity Therapy Service (NATS) programme that ensures all residential homes have a dedicated strategy to increase residents’ physical activity levels to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines and embeds physical activity into all care pathways for the treatment of long term conditions such as heart disease, dementia and type II diabetes.
The plans also calls for the up skilling of health and social care workers on the benefits of physical activity and creating a national centralised database of physical activity and exercise referral opportunities.
Looking at the care sector, the report highlights innovative work by activities specialist Oomph! and practices at Bupa’s Richmond Village retirement home.