Loneliness NZ

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A model for older people’s health, fitness and sociability

A model for older people’s health, fitness and sociability

Review: Today Dr Beatrice Hale reports on an social exercise model to combat social isolation and loneliness called Steady As You Go (or SAYGO), which was the subject of a recent lecture by Assoc. Professor Linda Robertson. Her research was based on the SAYGO programme organised and managed by Age Concern Otago. The programme has operated for more than ten years and now has more than 50 groups in Dunedin with an average of 15 members each.  Furthermore, it has expanded to other areas in New Zealand.  People are referred to a group by their General Practitioner if they are at risk of falls. The groups are local, regular and led by ‘peers’. They provide long-term social connection for participants.

Dr Hale writes: “SAYGO is clearly an important model for alleviating loneliness in older people, ensuring some connectedness, and strengthening and supporting their wellbeing.” However, current funding of the programme is coming to an end.  The programme was originally funded by ACC and Ministry of Health, until 30th June 2017.  Temporary funding is due to expire on 30th October 2018.

Feature photo: Dr Beatrice Hale reports on Assoc. Professor Linda Robertson’s Otago Polytechnic Professorial Lecture, which discussed a model for initiating and maintaining programmes to encourage social connections for older people.