The future for Care Homes – a helping hand

A helping hand – Action for Elders Trust project wins an award from the Healthy and Active Fund in Wales.

Balanced Lives For Care Homes is an exciting new partnership project, working within care home communities in the Bay Health Cluster area of Swansea over the next three years. It will cater to the needs of residents and local older people by incorporating gentle exercise with a range of social activities. We will develop a unique understanding of those communities and individuals, with the aim of improving residents’ physical, mental and social wellbeing.

The project is made possible by the Healthy and Active Fund (HAF), a forward-thinking, three-year initiative from the Welsh Government, Sport Wales and Public Health Wales. The first phase of the £5.4m Fund (HAF) has just been announced and aims to improve mental and physical health by enabling the adoption of healthy and active lifestyles across Wales.

The project has many elements and active partners. Action for Elders will be working with health practitioners within Bay Health Cluster Network, Swansea Council for Voluntary Service and researchers at the Wales School for Social Care Research based at Swansea University. The Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Public Health Team will play an advisory role.

Anne Faulkner – Development Director, Action for Elders Trust said: “When people move to a care home, they may stop doing the simple everyday tasks that improve their mobility, like housework or shopping for groceries and spend long periods of time seated. This is often coupled with feelings of grief following bereavement of a partner or loss of their home, leading to a rapid decline in health and wellbeing. Our partnership’s vision is to help make the experience of living in a care home a positive one for residents’ physical, social and mental wellbeing.”

Engaging people and communities

To ensure that the people and communities who will benefit are involved in the design and delivery of the project, Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (SCVS) will bring its expertise in co-production.

Volunteers are crucial to the success of our projects, as they bring a wide variety of skills and experience, broadening our scope and helping our understanding.

Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said: “The 17 projects will all benefit from our £5.4m Healthy and Active Fund. Each of these projects will contribute to the strengthening of community assets and enable people to adopt healthier lifestyles. When we launched the Healthy and Active Fund it was with the message that the benefits to our mental and physical health of healthy and active lifestyles are clear. These projects show new, innovative approaches to supporting people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services added: “The projects we are funding seek to reduce inequalities in outcomes and barriers in a variety of ways. From intergenerational approaches to gardening; encouraging families to get active with their newborn babies; to increasing physical and social activities for people living in care homes. There are other projects that look to support people with mental health issues to lead independent and long term active lifestyles, and one that uses sporting memories to help people with dementia.”


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