There is no doubt that the world’s population is getting older – significant developments made in healthcare, medicine, technology and research over the years has extended our lifespan. As individuals, we have a better understanding of nutrition, how we can take better care of ourselves by eating healthily and taking regular exercise.
If the population is living longer then this in itself for us, as individuals creates new possibilities when getting older (and challenges). When to retire? Where do we live? How do we want to spend the golden years? Who will help us with shopping and housework, when our hips and knees aren’t working quite like they used to?
For our society and our families (if we are lucky enough to have one) then this presents us with the question how do we care for our elderly?
Is better health, care and diet simply enough?
There has been scientific research in recent years that points to five steps that we all can take to improve our mental and physical wellbeing – steps that help us get the most from our lives, to feel happier and healthier.
The New Economics Foundation defined the five steps as being:
To connect – connect with the people around you, your family, friends and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
To be active – find the activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
To keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence.
To give to others – even the smallest act can count whether it's a smile, a kind word or a larger act of giving like becoming a volunteer or joining your local Timebank.
To take notice – be more aware of the present moment, including to your feelings, thoughts and body but also the world around you (a beautiful sunset or a bird chirping in the trees).
The Five Ways to Wellbeing steps have been adopted and used widely in the health and social care field to promote a deeper kind of wellbeing both mentally and physically.
The steps might seem obvious when you read them but they are often not the reality. Let's face it they are a good reminder for us all but there are many people who live in our society, where the opportunities aren’t so obvious to them or ones they think they can access, without help from the people around us.
Where can older people achieve Five Ways to Wellbeing in Watford and Three Rivers?
Hertfordshire County Council Adult Services provide funding for ten Five Ways Friends clubs that run every weekday between 11am to 3pm, at different locations throughout Watford & Three Rivers including Watford, Abbots Langley, Croxley Green, Chorleywood, Mill End and South Oxhey.
The clubs offer a place for people who are over 55 or a Carer (who might feel isolated and wants to improve their personal wellbeing) an opportunity to get connect, be active, keep learning, give to others and to take notice.
There’s organised activities including dancing for exercise, lectures on useful and interesting things, opportunities to learn a skill such as bunting making or playing curling and plenty of time to socialise or make friends over lunch.
Transport can be arranged for members, subject to mobility.
Missing one of your five ways?
Looking for a new opportunity to give back to your community? Five Ways Friends clubs are also recruiting volunteers to help out with games, activities and day to day running of the clubs, find out more at W3RT Volunteer Recruitment.
About the Author
Caro Hart - Director of Health & Wellbeing
Caro Hart is primarily responsible for leading the Five Ways Friends team which delivers a service aimed at increasing the physical and mental wellbeing of older people across ten weekly clubs. She has a wide background in the voluntary and community sector and in the last 30 years she has been a volunteer, caseworker, trustee, Chief Executive of HOST. Currently, Caro is also the Director of her own community interest company CIC and Chair of the Stevenage and North Herts Domestic Violence Forum.