My name is Rosaria, I am one of 9 children and so as you can imagine all my life I have taken on a role as 'carer'. I have a gorgeous grandma called Bibi who has alzheimer's and a whole other bunch of chronic illnesses, much like many other grandparents.
Two years ago I graduated with a BSc in Exercise & Fitness Management and within that I completed a unit on 'Physical Activity Prescription and Promotion' at the same time I started a health and well-being business, Vitality Hub. Vitality Hub has transformed and reshaped from your average personal training service, sports therapy business to an exercise specialist service for women and seniors with health limitations (obesity, arthritis, fragility and anxiety).
From my own experiences and studies I have dedicated my career to supporting vulnerable adults by ensuring seniors are visited by friendly, specialist trainers who provide private training sessions, aimed at improving the individuals MOOD and ability to MOVE and therefore help create a better quality of life. But since the current pandemic most of my customers have been quarantined and as a result have spent many days sat at home alone. I want to change that!
Since the COVID19 lockdown many of grandparents, older relatives and friends have been a victim of social isolation, even my older private customers have reported feelings of loneliness and a desire to have something to look forward to since most of them are home-bound. Vitality Hub would like to test an online service providing seniors with a 45 minute session made up of exercise guidance, health advice and opportunities to socialise and build friendships.
Vitality Hub aims to tackle Social-isolation and wide-spread physical health issues in seniors around the UK. We want to provide person-centered sessions so that Bibi who is stuck at home with limited mobility can improve her quality of life by being able to move more, be less fearful of falling and meet others who can relate to her circumstances.
Our idea is not only backed up by necessity but also science. Humans are social creatures, connecting to others is a survival instinct. The biggest effects of loneliness are cognitive decline and depression. "The misery and suffering caused by chronic loneliness are very real and warrent attention...treating lonliness is our collective responsibility" Cacioppo (2019).
Read more about loneliness here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530780/
Later life health complications have huge implications on society such as falls, which not only affects physical and mental health but costs the NHS £4.4 billion a year. Its inevitable that as we grow old our muscle mass and strength declines but slowing this process down and maintaining strength is possible. Exercise helps with:
- Balance and mobility to prevent falls
- Strength to stand and walk for longer periods of time
- Cognitive functioning (mental health prevention; dementia & alzheimers)
- Improved quality of life
We must work together to improve life for the UK's ageing population as well as the strain unwanted health complications cause to the economy.
This campaign is aimed at finding out if this is actually going to work! So our plan is to devise smaller scale (50-60 individuals) strategies and marketing campaigns attracting potential customers to find out whether its something that is feasible!
'AS IF! MY GRANDPARENTS DON'T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE INTERNET'
We will start with our marketing campaign, promoting the idea on social media (its important not to assume that 60+ year old's don't use technology or social media) by contacting organisations, companies and charities to spread word and help gather our pilot study participants.
Its also our own responsibility as a more able body to support our elders! So gaining the attention of families and friends is also part of our marketing plan.
Once we have gathered our participant pool we will be placing them into categories based on a survey they complete at registration. For example participant A has chosen chair exercises only on a group basis and participant B has chosen group dance aerobics. Both participants have chosen significantly different movement options and therefor will be placed in groups suited to their health status.
We believe one of our biggest challenges is making this user-friendly and therefore will be trialing a variety of sign-up processes to see which works best.
We hope that the project will last a total of 5 months, initial month and half gathering participants followed by a minimum 2 month subscription with access to classes and the community.