Greater Manchester’s vision is for older residents to be able to contribute to, and benefit from, sustained prosperity and enjoy a good quality of life. Living well for longer is important for all of us, and together we can create the conditions for everyone to enjoy a good quality of life, in good health with limited health-related disabilities, for longer. However, we know these conditions are not in place at the moment.
Greater Manchester’s population is ageing rapidly; by 2036, 14% of our total population will be 75 and over – a 75% increase from 2011. Whilst healthy life expectancy is improving, it remains below the national average; over 20% of a residents’ life is spent in poor health. Within Greater Manchester itself, there is also great inequality in healthy life expectancy dependent upon a person’s borough, gender and socio-economic status.
This demonstrates the need for a massive shift towards creating a true, preventive, whole-system approach to ageing well throughout the life course. If we don’t do things differently the number of people at risk of social isolation and loneliness is forecast to increase, along with the related impacts on physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Physical activity will play an integral part to help achieve Greater Manchester’s vision - enabling older adults to live a healthier, happier later life, with reduced social isolation and loneliness.
Since the development of the Greater Manchester Age-Friendly strategy, and having set the ambition to become the ‘UK’s first Age-Friendly City Region’, Greater Manchester has made real, tangible progress in supporting its key ambitions such as establishing age-friendly communities; developing local age-friendly plans and; supporting more people to be physically active as they age.
We will celebrate an active life in older age in a positive and inclusive way - dismantling systemic ageism and creating and embedding age positive / friendly language, structures, spaces, places and activities (physical and digital).
The Greater Manchester Active Ageing programme was a two year programme, running from 2018-20, that explored new ways to encourage physical activity amongst older adults (over-55s). It needed to explore healthy ageing to tackle inequalities and the psychosocial barriers to physical activity amongst older adults. At the end of the programme the evaluation partner, The University of Manchester, produced a report including recommendations for how to engage older adults in physical activity interventions. Click below to find out more information and read the evaluation findings and recommendations.
The negative affect of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity levels is widespread. Yet there are many who have gone against the trend and found ways to increase their activities.