Live Longer Better

Join the Live Longer Better Revolution

A revolution is underway to enable people to live longer better, reduce the need for health and social care and reverse the effects of lockdown through the Living Longer Better network. The aim of Live Longer Better is to reduce disability, dementia and frailty, by enabling increased activity – this includes physical but also cognitive and emotional activity too.

Our Living Longer Better programme is based on the evidence that ageing by itself is not a cause of major problems until the nineties. The problem is due to 

  • loss of fitness
  • Disease, complicated by  accelerated by loss of fitness, and
  • Negative thinking

The number of people over 80 is going to increase significantly in the next ten years with little increase in healthy life expectancy in prospect. This has huge implications for health and social care services.  It doesn’t have to be this way. The evidence is strong that the incidence of the major causes of disability and dependency can be prevented or delayed, compressing the period at the end of life when we are heavily dependent on others.

“Knowledge is the Elixir of Life - the way we think about ageing is wrong; the new evidence from research lets us re-imagine ageing and then realise the new paradigm”

— Muir Gray

What do older people want?

Recent research by UKActive (June 2021) explored existing provision to support over 55s to be physically active and asked older adults about the extent to which which these offerings meet their needs and wants. The findings informed a set of specific recommendations, which include:

  • Make it easy and accessible​: different times throughout the day; bookable online and in person.
  • Focus on strength​: offer activities that maintain and build strength as early as possible 
  • Create and build atmosphere​: make it welcoming and inclusive, with a focus on building confidence.
  • Make it social​: maintain and increase socialising opportunities for older adults to support physical, mental and social health, improve experience and drive attendance.
  • Prepare the workforce​: Build people skills as well as skills to support older adult’s specific health and activity needs. 
  • Make it ability specific​: Stop categorisation of offerings by age and focus on categorisation by ability or intensity. 
  • Make communication and promotion clear​: enable people to make informed decisions based on their physical activity needs and desires.
  • Build in post-pandemic support​: consider the changed physical and mental health needs of older adults brought about by Covid-19 and lockdowns.

 

In March-May 2020, compared with corresponding period in 2019:

  • 32% of older people were inactive 
  • A decrease from 126 to 77 mins per week of duration of strength and balance activity
  • Reduction in strength & balance activity with greatest change in 70 – 74 age group

*As a result of this inactivity, modelling predicts:

  • 110,000 more older people will have at least 1 fall
  • Falls could increase by 124,000 – +6.3% (M) and 130,000 +4.4% (F)
  • For each year that these lower levels of strength & balance inactivity persist, projected additional cost to the H&SC system: £211m (over 2.5 years)

*Public Health England. Wider impacts of COVID-19 on physical activity, deconditioning and falls in older adults.  September 2021