A guide to help older people in Greater Manchester stay healthy at home during the COVID-19 lockdown has been published by academics at The University of Manchester.
Called ‘Keeping Well At Home’, the team have been working with the Ageing Hub at Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) so the resource can reach homes across the region.
The printed booklet is specifically aimed at older people, many of whom have no access to the internet, and draws on evidence based research from the University’s Healthy Ageing Research Group.
Members of the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network gave their views to ensure the design and content were accessible and appropriate for the target audience.
More than 50,000 copies of the guide have been printed and are being distributed through the ten Greater Manchester local authorities. This will be done in a number of ways, including via post, through community hubs and housing associations.
An estimated 200,000 Greater Manchester residents have not used the internet within the past three months. 96% of these people are over the age of 45 and 57% are over the age of 75.
“Staying at home for a long time is not easy, and for some older people it is particularly hard so it is important that we look after ourselves and each other during the lockdown,” said Jane McDermott, from the University’s Healthy Ageing Research Group.
“Finding ways of being active every day will help us feel better, it will also help our bodies be better protected for fighting infection and illness.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “In Greater Manchester we want to make sure everyone, no matter what their situation, can access the information and advice they need to keep safe and well during the outbreak.
“Not everyone in the city-region can access the internet and this booklet will go a long way to ensuring that our older residents can find out what they need to do to look after themselves and their family.”
The booklet is packed full of health and dietary advice, including a programme of standing and sitting strength and balance exercises.
It gives useful tips on keeping minds active, eating and drinking at home and safety.
And it also provides a list of useful contact numbers in Greater Manchester.
Lead for Age-Friendly Greater Manchester, Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “Older residents are more affected by this present crisis than most, that’s why it’s vital that practical information is available in the right format to reach people.
“I’m delighted that Greater Manchester is once again leading the way through our collaborative approach, bringing together the views of older people as well as international experts on healthy ageing.”
Around 30% of the over 70s in the UK carry out regular strength and balance exercises, and the writers hope the initiative will encourage them to carry on at home during the lockdown.
Jane added: “Being active has all sorts of benefits to our health, including: keeping our spirits up, getting a good night's sleep, having a good appetite, keeping our muscles and bones strong and staying at a healthy weight.
“But it also reduces the risk of falls and fractures, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. “So let’s get active!”