Enjoy later life by staying healthy and connected from home

Age UK Norwich has seen an increase in the number of older people using it's online services, such a

Age UK Norwich has seen an increase in the number of older people using it's online services, such as exercise and activity videos, during lockdown Picture: Age UK Norwich - Credit: Archant

The lockdown led to a positive increase in the number of older people using the internet to keep in touch with friends and family, as well as to stay active. Here we find out how Age UK Norwich helped the local community take this positive step.

Significant increases have been measured in older people using the internet during lockdown, with the proportion of adults aged 65+ who make a least one video call each week increasing from 22pc in February 2020 to 61pc by May 2020, according to OFCOM.

Age UK Norwich has noticed this shift in the viewing figures of its exercise and activity videos, which include dance, yoga, relaxation, art and gardening, as well as information videos about rights to welfare, combating loneliness in lockdown and scams awareness.

Dan Skipper, Age UK Norwich chief executive, says: “This is such a positive step for many older people, opening their worlds to connect with family and friends, activities to do at home, as well as taking advantage of online information and deals.

“Over half of people aged 75+ live alone, and loneliness in older age is a big problem. Technology, such as video calls, is helping people connect to one another, and although virtual sessions will never have the same impact as being around real people, at a time when this is difficult to do, it’s still a massive positive.”

Jeremy Goss at the Friendliest Friendlies event at Carrow Road Picture: Aviva

Jeremy Goss at the Friendliest Friendlies event at Carrow Road Picture: Aviva - Credit: Archant

Age UK Norwich telephone befrienders have also been supporting older people to get online, increasing their confidence – which is often the main barrier. The charity has also been promoting Active Norfolk’s virtual video finder (www.activenorfolk.org/virtual-activities), and EasyActive8 (www.easyactive8.com), which provides live sessions with a qualified instructor and is free for older people to join in the Norwich area, subject to availability, thanks to financial support from Age UK Norwich.

Marketing manager and ex-Norwich City professional footballer Jeremy Goss says: “It’s not about running marathons, it’s about doing small regular things to help your heart, body and mind. It also helps you keep connected to your community too!”

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One enthusiastic participant, Penny Banks from the Lakenham area, says: “I joined the Age UK Norwich Dance to Health class about a year ago. You don’t have to be particularly fit – someone used to come along who used a wheelchair and another person took part using two sticks.”

During lockdown, Penny was one of the first to take advantage of the online sessions with EasyActive8 to keep up her regular exercise. “Their staff even talked me through setting up Zoom over the phone,” she says.

Dan Skipper, chief executive of Age UK Norwich

Dan Skipper, chief executive of Age UK Norwich - Credit: Archant

Dan Skipper concludes: “Covid-19 has heavily impacted a lot of older people, but with the summer and easing of lockdown, now is the time to get out into the garden, go for a walk, or try a online session – to get inspired and connect with others.”

Norwich Together Alliance

Age UK is a member of the Norwich Together Alliance.

In a time of isolation, helping communities to connect has never been more important. It’s vital for our health and wellbeing.

With an ambition to tackle loneliness and social isolation in Norwich, Aviva established the Norwich Together Alliance last year.

The alliance is a network of local businesses, charities and the council that have joined forces to explore how we can shape our city to help us all feel more connected.

The aim is to create a more connected and cohesive city for everyone.

Now more than ever, alliance members want to be there for you and offer the support and guidance you need to get through this challenging time.

For more information and stories on what the Norwich Together Alliance members are doing to bring Norwich Together, click here.

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