Agenda item

Ageing Population Review

To consider the attached report.


The Community, Culture and Wellbeing Manager, Gill Wallis presented a report to the Select Committee regarding an annual review of the work undertaken to address the needs of the ageing population.


In 2015/16 the Council undertook a comprehensive study into the impact of an ageing population in the Epping Forest district. At this time, a number of recommendations were generated for the Council, along with key statutory and voluntary sector partners, to progress.


In March 2018 the multi-agency Epping Forest Health & Wellbeing Board formally adopted and launched the Epping Forest Health & Wellbeing Strategy 2018-28. The health and wellbeing of older residents formed a key part of the Strategy and it was agreed, therefore, that the future focus for the delivery of projects and initiatives relating to the ageing population would sit with the associated multi-agency Age Well Action Group.


Under the Health & Wellbeing Board there were three Action Groups which were age specific:


·        Start Well Action Group – Looked at pre-birth to 19 years old;

·        Be Well Action Group – Looked at working age adults; and

·        Age Well Action Group – Looked at initiatives around older people. 


Through partner consensus, a review of the original Ageing Population Study Action Plan was undertaken and a revised Age Well Action Plan was developed and adopted. The key priorities agreed by all partners were as follows:


  • Increasing physical activity
  • Reducing social isolation and loneliness
  • Keeping older residents safe and independent at home


The current Action Plan attached to the Agenda, Item 10, provided an overview of the areas of work being undertaken to address the needs of the district`s ageing population.


The Assistant Manager, Community, Health & Wellbeing, J Warwick advised the Select Committee that the Age Well Action Group plan was split into three priority areas:


1.         Increasing Physical Activity


A numbers of successful sports have been developed around walking sports:


·        Walking Football weekly in Waltham Abbey which has approximately 18 people attending;

·        Nordic Walking weekly in Epping; and

·        Walking Netball.


These sports increased physical activity and reduced inactivity by a targeted approach to groups most likely to be inactive & underrepresented in a physical activity and sport.


Strength and Balance Pilot in Care Homes


Five care homes were identified for the pilot and working closely with a qualified instructor who would deliver a number of strength and balance sessions to improve physical activity and mobility. The Activity Co-Ordinator’s from the Care Homes would then be invited to attend two 2 hour training sessions which we deliver to give them the skills to deliver the sessions back in the Care Homes to ensure that the pilot was sustainable. We also provide the Care Homes with some equipment, exercise bands and balls.


This has been a really successful pilot that it was likely to be rolled out across West Essex to get more Care Homes involved.


West Essex CCG, EFDC, ECC Provide, Community Agents and Frontline to work together more proactively in respect of older people helping them in being more physically active and leaving ‘re-ablement’ care. To be able to extend and sustain improvement work with individuals through referrals to activities such as the Lifewalks, Strength and Balance, Active Living, Cycling for Health programmes. We also have access to a GPs newsletter each month where we can signpost the services and raise awareness and profile of the work.


2.         Social Isolation and Loneliness


A project group was put together which included EFDC, West Essex CCG, Community Agents, Councillor A Patel, Community Matrons, EPUT, VAEF, the Parish Council and WECAN to name a few, to focus on a bespoke piece of work around Buckhurst Hill. A number of activities had been introduced including beginners yoga, floral workshops and crochet workshops we were also finalising a toolkit to find out what activities were working and what activities were not working. An awareness information session along the lines of Dementia Friends sessions was also being arranged so that we could roll this out across the district to raise the profile and equip people with the tools to help them identify social isolation and loneliness.


To date we have recruited 14 Community Champions across the district, the target was to recruit one Community Champion in every Town and Parish Council area over a five year period. They work with the voluntary sector and have supported the Council attending various events. They have organised tea and chat sessions, bereavement cafes and were involved in the Great British spring clean-up organised at Limes Farm.


3.         Safe and Independent at Home


This was a Multi-agency engagement and events were to be provided for older people such as ‘Stay Well This Winter’ and ‘Senior Safety’ days, on an annual basis.  These to include representation from health services, local pharmacies, opticians and the Council, and to include availability of flu vaccinations, benefits advice and tips for health and safety in the home.


Councillor A Mitchell asked about loneliness and isolation, when elderly people have no family to help when they move home. I recently came across an elderly lady who had just moved into a bungalow and she was sitting in the middle of the room with all her possessions around her. She stated that she had no family and didn’t know what to do. Councillor Mitchell then helped arrange her utility bills and to set up. Councillor Mitchell stated that she found the situation this lady to be in very worrying as these issues did not seem to be addressed.


J Warwick stated that social isolation and loneliness was a key priority for the Group. A West Essex Social Isolation and Loneliness Prevention Partnership has just been formed and they are meeting this week. They had funding in place and had employed three Community Enablers, one for each district so Epping Forest will have a dedicated Community Enabler who will work across the district to identify socially isolated and lonely people and signpost them to services so they can obtain the help they need.


Councillor Wixley referred to increasing physical activity in care homes and asked if the intention was to contact all care homes in the district to offer this service. J Warwick advised that it all came down to resources. If we could evidence that it was making a difference then we would be able to get resources.




That the Stronger Communities Select Committee agreed to receive an annual progress report on the work undertaken to address the needs of the ageing population.

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