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Every Move Matters: An evaluation of a community-based physical and social activity intervention pilot for older adults with mild frailty

Older people in exercise class

Every Move Matters: A qualitative study of a community-based physical and social activity intervention pilot for older adults with mild frailty

The Active Ageing Programme (AAP) is a community-based intervention for older people with clinical signs of mild frailty. Participants are recruited via routine care pathways and supported to improve physical and social wellbeing over a 16-week period, with the aim of reducing likelihood of worsening health and related dependence on health and care services.

The programme combines components that motivate older people to engage in physical activity, providing an opportunity to change physical, mental and social factors that impact on health trajectories.

The AAP involves weekly two-hour structured physical and social activity sessions delivered at a community ‘hub’ by local voluntary and community sector partners, and facilitated by an activities lead. Following the first hour of physical activity, each session concludes with a social hour including tea and coffee. Some social hours also include an educational component, where educators present topics such as healthy eating, goal-setting, managing long-term conditions, and maintaining mental wellbeing.

The AAP is supported by patient-friendly information materials and digital templates for initial patient conversations and referral, embedded within existing health pathways. In addition, a workforce development offer was made available to local relevant social prescribing link workers, wellbeing coaches, activity service providers, and health care professionals.

This project was a rapid qualitative study of the AAP pilot (first cohort) to understand the experiences of older participants and referral and delivery staff. The study considered:

  • The acceptability of the AAP to older people and staff
  • How easy the AAP is to carry out as intended
  • What it is like for staff and older participants taking part in the AAP, including the benefits and challenges they experience

Frailty is not inevitable or constant; an individual’s frailty state can improve or deteriorate. For interventions to achieve impact in improving older people’s frailty levels, it is important to understand the characteristics that promote participant engagement and affect how interventions are carried out. Findings from this study of the first AAP cohort are being used by Rise North East to inform the ongoing development of the AAP for future cohorts and settings.

Rise North East have recently produced a short film to illustrate the Every Move Matters programme, and its impact.

You can watch the film below.

Project leads: Jennifer Liddle (ARC NENC, Newcastle University), Melanie Stowell (Newcastle University), Stephanie Warwick (Newcastle University), Alexandra Thompson (ARC NENC, Newcastle University), Katie Brittain (Newcastle University), Barbara Hanratty (ARC NENC, Newcastle University)

Duration: July – December 2022

Funded by: Rise North East

To find out more about this research project, please email [email protected] 

Visit the Rise North East website

To find out more about the Every Move Matters programme, please contact [email protected]