Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur was joined by Minister for Older People and Equalities Christina McKelvie during a visit to the Lochwinnoch Health and Wellbeing Club at the McKillop Institute, run by Roar – Connections for Life, on Thursday 4 July.
During the visit, they had the opportunity to chat to staff, volunteers and service users, as well as take part in an exercise class which takes place regularly and aims to keep people fitter, stronger & more confident, as well as teaching them what to do in case of a fall.
Roar is a Renfrewshire-based provider of preventative, health and wellbeing services for older people through the development of community opportunities that connect lives. The organisation aims to create opportunities for older adults, to enhance their quality of life, maintain existing skills and promote engagement with their local communities through increased social networks.
Roar’s ‘Stay Mobile Stay Connected’ initiative, which began in 2017, brought together older adults and professional practitioners involved in commissioning services to change the way we think about older people’s health. Through this campaign, a group of older adults, aged 79 to 92, created campaign films and animations with their own advice on achieving happiness and health in later life. Their first-hand tips range from practical ways to stay on your feet to remaining independent and avoiding isolation.
Commenting after the visit, Tom Arthur MSP said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome the Minister to Lochwinnoch today to see an excellent Roar class in action and to meet with staff, volunteers and group members. She was very supportive and enthusiastic about the efforts the organisation is dedicating to tackle loneliness and isolation.
“As Scotland has an ageing population, these efforts are increasingly important. The staff and volunteers at Roar are a real credit to our local community, dedicating themselves to positive work which tackles isolation, prevent falls and improve wellbeing among older people.”
Minister for Older People and Equalities commented:
“People are often afraid to admit they are lonely or isolated yet these feelings can affect anyone at any age, or stage, or walk of life – Particularly in today’s fast-paced world.
“Yet we know that social isolation and loneliness can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“That’s why I’m delighted to visit Lochwinnoch’s Roar: Connections for Life group.
“Scotland has become one of the first countries in the world to develop a national strategy to deal with the serious problem of social isolation and loneliness. It is the responsibility of all of us as individuals and communities, and within the public sector, local authorities and businesses to reach out with kindness and build a country where all of us feel welcome within our communities and valued as an important part of society.”
Roar CEO Nicola Hanssen added:
“Lochwinnoch Roar were so happy to receive this visit. We believe that older people across Scotland could be more mobile, less lonely and be less likely to need an ambulance after a fall if we can create more non-medical opportunities that encourage and motivate people to age well.
“We hope that our approach of ensuring our members ‘learn, laugh and leave wanting more’ is a great way of delivering both key health messages and compassionate communities”.