Walking in Young and Old Shoes

 

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Age Scotland’s ‘Walk in our Shoes, Act on our Issues’ pack has inspired older people’s groups across the country to tackle the physical barriers that make it difficult for older-people to get out and about locally. However when Christine McArthur of NHS Highland discovered it, she put it to use in support of an innovative intergenerational project in Argyll and Bute.

Christine McArthur coordinates work on prevention management of falls for NHS Highland, and leads on prevention of falls for Reshaping Care for Older People in Argyll and Bute. While working on her PhD she became aware of importance of strong communities in tackling the problem of falls. “I asked myself, ‘how can I make use of this knowledge as a health professional?’”

Her research followed a ‘co-production’ model, which is about delivering public service withrather than for people. So members of her community team suggested involving Islay High School students through the school’s citizenship programme. “The students looked at how things like broken pavements could cause falls and injury.” They made presentations about factors implicated in falls incidence, including eyesight and footwear, to a conference of health and social care professionals, and to the Council’s Area Committee.

 “The students involvement really helped to get the message through,” says Christine. “They also went home and talked to their family and friends about it, which helped to develop wider awareness in the community.” Younger and older members of the community on Islay then worked together to identify and raise awareness of falls hazards. “The older people learned from the students’ presentation and ICT skills” says Christine. “The similarities between generations, such as a shared sense of humour, became apparent and mutual appreciation grew.”

Read the full article here in Advantage magazine Issue 33