Age-friendly living in the City of Unley

This article is part of our showcase of the 2020 Future of Ageing Awards. The City of Unley won the Community Engagement category.

Building an age-friendly community and promoting active ageing is a passion for the City of Unley in South Australia.

When approaching public works and community programs the council applies an Age Friendly ‘lens’ to the work it undertakes, which has seen a number of developments, including an ‘Age Friendly Streetscape’ throughout the city to provide easy access and comfortable public space for seniors to enjoy.

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Their latest initiative is the Daily Moves exercise program that aims to bring physical fitness into the every day lives of those living in the community.

Project Overview

Daily Moves is a free supportive physical activity program for adults aged 65-years and above living independently in Eastern Adelaide. The program aims to encourage participants to move their bodies daily for 30-minutes.

The program involves a suite of activities, including fitness assessments conducted at regular intervals; one-on-one physical activity assistance, guidance and advice; come and try programs and events; referrals and linkages; an online program which includes exercise and health education videos and access to an app; and ongoing coaching and mentoring.

Participants are referred to local providers (Daily Moves Partners) that help achieve individual goals, noting the participant must act independently, where possible.

More than a hundred-member strong network of Daily Moves partners has been created, who provide age appropriate exercise options throughout the region. The network includes everyone from a small Tai Chi provider in a church hall, through to a large physiotherapy clinic offering clinical Pilates.

How it came together

A project plan was developed and presented to a steering committee including all participating councils and the University of South Australia, who trained 20 students to support the program and provide advice on how to best structure the fitness assessments.

To promote the the programme a comprehensive promotional plan was developed, which included marketing material, a regular newsletter and a communications programme through the local media. Instructional video’s were created and shared via the Daily Moves newsletter and Youtube channel (below)

To help road test everything a pilot fitness assessment day was held, where interested potential participants provided advice and feedback on the service model and delivery plan.

Daily Moves Youtube channel

Key to the programme is encouraging behavioural change by providing a fitness assessment, debriefing the results, and coaching participants toward setting their own achievable goals.

Regular coaching phone calls provide accountability and a full re-assessment is done at the 6-month mark.

Outcomes

Since the program launched in August 2019 until time of writing more than 600 people have signed up, with over 40% of them from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

More than 200 people have had a baseline assessment, and around half of this group have been reassessed. Of those reassessed, 60% have increased their self-reported physical activity, with 90% of these people improving on two or more of their objective tests.

Given the project started prior to the pandemic, the partnership with University of South Australia has resulted in the opportunity to conduct one on one interviews with participants about the impact of COVID-19 on their physical activity and wellbeing, with students contributing more than 2,500 hours toward the project.

Some of the feedback from participants include:

“I tried the warmup and upper body exercises from yesterday’s email this morning and enjoyed them both. This is a great initiative”

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the fitness assessment yesterday. The students were very thorough, and I enjoyed the process”

“Thank you for your support. The phone calls from time to time are helpful”

“Great newsletter.  Thank you. I have enrolled for Thorndon Park Fitness Equipment, Nordic Walking and Learning Golf. Smorgasbord of fun and fitness. Feeling optimistic and appreciative of the Daily Moves Program”

“Edward and I follow along with the Daily Moves newsletter videos all the time and that they are very user friendly and loves that they are “homemade” because it makes them more relatable”

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