Tony Blair, Prime Minister, Dr John Reid, Health Secretary and Professor Ian Philp, National Director for Older People’s Health, visited a “keep on moving” class for older people at East Hill Baptist Church in Battersea. The hugely popular classes are a joint venture between Wandsworth Primary Care Trust and Age Concern and are designed to help older people stay active, healthy and independent through exercise.
The visit marked the launch of a new report that shows that it is never too late to look after your health. The report published yesterday says that older people are healthier, more active and living longer than ever before. They are more likely to stop smoking and take advantage of health screening and immunisation to stay healthy.
Tony Blair, Prime Minister, said “This is an encouraging report which shows that improved services are helping older people recover from falls and strokes more quickly. People are no longer stuck in hospital for weeks after an operation and this means that their quality of life is being improved. The challenge for the future is to make sure services enable older people to stay safe and well at home.”
Edward Poulter, Older People’s Exercise Practitioner at Wandsworth PCT, who helped set the classes up, said “We started with one class a week last October, we are now up to six a week plus we do special fall prevention classes and Tai Chi classes. Exercise is important at all ages but even more important as you get older because you lose muscular strength. Older people’s independence is threatened because they fear falling and therefore don’t leave their homes. The classes build confidence and people have the opportunity to have a coffee and chat.”
Professor Ian Philp, National Clinical Director for Older People’s Health, said ” England is leading other developed countries in terms of reducing delayed discharge and by investing in community services. Services for people with old age related conditions such as stroke, falls and fractures, are moving from being third class to world class and older people are taking advantage of new opportunities to look after their health.”
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