Action for Elders
Keith Hayton reports....
Our speaker on July 15th was James Lewis, CEO of Action for Elders Trust.
James described how some 25 years ago he had a personal experience/loss which caused him to rethink his role in life. Looking around for areas in our society which were in need without any obvious support networks, he decided that there were many (too many) elderly people who were not making the most of their lives. He started the ‘Action for Elders’ Trust with the aims of providing three things to help those in this category.
He organised classes based on gentle Tai chi to provide the necessary exercise and health benefits. At the same time the extended ‘classes’ gave plenty of opportunity for social interaction to work against the problems and anxieties of loneliness and social isolation. He expanded at some length about the wider implications for our society and the need to ‘live for each day’.
The organisation, which originated in South Wales, came to York through a chance contact with a doctor and is guided here by a recently retired GP. The Trust holds classes each week in Foxwood and after the class there is food provided and plenty of opportunity for getting together.
The Trust does get some financial support in some places where its aims dovetail with those of the local authority or NHS Trust but has also to rely on charitable donations. Similar ‘courses’ are provided in the Midlands and James also indicated that there had been an approach to them from areas in London. The expansion of the organisation is a good indication that the positive benefits provided are being recognised.