In this blog Kay Yeo talks about her role helping people to age well across Northumberland
My main role as a Health improvement practitioner is to encourage people over the age of 50 to stay active, connected, and well.
It’s also about helping older people to enjoy ageing, continue to live independently in their own communities, and just enjoy their later years.
There are several different parts to my job such as delivering training to older people, promoting health campaigns and encouraging people to take up screening and vaccinations to promote healthy living. I’m part of the integrated well being service and have many colleagues who support the delivery of my work. There are lots of other elements of my role like:
- Delivering Health roadshows
- Developing specialised pieces of work that help to address health inequalities, break down barriers, and generally improve the quality of life for older people living in Northumberland.
- Chairing a county wide Ageing Well network that shares information and encourages older people to tackle issues like social isolation and loneliness.
I have been doing my job for 19 years, starting out as a community development worker. I’ve always enjoyed working in the community trying to make a difference to people’s health and well-being.
There are many challenges when working in communities because of the diversity of the county. Northumberland is a very beautiful place but there are many pockets of rural isolation where challenges for older people can be difficult. I’m talking about things like transport, accessing services, loneliness and isolation.
Covid has stopped us being able to engage with our older people face to face and this has been very difficult. Physical activity is a hugely important part of staying healthy as we grow older and during normal times older people are encouraged to participate in gentle exercise activities in community settings. However, during the pandemic this has sadly not been possible.
An exciting project I have been involved with over the last few months is Active at Home. This piece of work looks to deliver some important health messages to older people, supported by our health trainer service.
During the pandemic older adults are spending more time at home and have fewer opportunities to be active and do their normal daily activities. We have worked in partnership with Northumberland CCG to develop a resource pack for the over-65s explaining how to keep active and reduce the risk of fractures and falls.
More than 1,000 packs have been delivered throughout Northumberland to reach older adults who are shielding, staying at home or whose community activities have stopped. As part of this we also offer one to one support from a health trainer.
The thing I enjoy most about my job is engaging with older people and trying to make positive changes that enhance their quality of life. No two days are the same and its challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.