Who Uses Exercise In Later Life? A critical ethnographic study
PHE ePoster Library. Clift E. 09/12/17; 193361; 30
Esther Clift
Esther Clift
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Abstract Introduction Living longer brings the challenge of ageing well. Enabling older people to increase exercise and activity can improve health and social outcomes, functional ability, engagement with local community resources and quality of life. A key challenge is to reverse the trend for older people who reduce their activity by 50% from age 60 to 85 and to promote exercise alongside everyday community living. This study explores the lived experience of older people and their exercise practice in one English city. MethodsAn ethnographically informed approach was used to understand the local contexts. We undertook focus groups, with participants in local exercise classes, and those not in a formal exercise group. The data was enriched with field notes and observations of the classes. Further focus groups and 1:1 interviews were undertaken with exercise providers, clinicians and service commissioners. ResultsKey themes identified relate to the charisma and capability of the instructor to tailor exercise to individual needs, familiarity and accessibility of the group, and social engagement with fellow participants. Non- exercise participants articulated the process of dis-engagement as they grow older. Clinicians were unaware of local provision, and unable to signpost older people appropriately. Exercise providers struggled to access routine referral routes. Commissioners understood barriers, but were disconnected from aspirational opportunities and the lived experience of service users. Key conclusionsUnderstanding local context, culture and older people’s priorities is key for engagement in exercise. Clinicians and providers should develop awareness of local opportunities and their value to older people, to increase referral options that are appropriate and acceptable.
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