New initiative will help people across Falkirk district be more independent
A new website aims to help older people in Falkirk get what they need to stay healthy and independent – quickly and easily.
At the moment, it can take over a year just to get an assessment for something as simple as a bath rail, but Living Well Falkirk aims to change that.
Now people can log on to its website where they’ll find LifeCurve, a programme which uses questions to help it suggest simple aids people can buy or be given to make their lives easier.
While everyone can log on at home, 24/7, anyone who needs a bit more support will find it at Living Well Falkirk, based in Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon.
It is the first of three such centres that will open across the district to complement what the website offers by offering appointments for face-to-face assistance.
That might mean getting help with the questions or even helping people to try out pieces of equipment that might help.
Patricia Cassidy, the chief officer of Falkirk’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), is impressed by the way in which the programme is being used.
She said: “It is widely used and has been robustly tested to make sure that any urgent health problems it encounters are flagged up immediately.”
Part of the HSCP remit is to bring services together to keep people out of hospital and she says the Living Well centres are “absolutely what we should be doing”.
“What we’re trying to do is look at every part of the system,” said Ms Cassidy.
“We’re looking at what we need to put in place to support people not to turn up at the emergency department.”
The man behind the website and app, Professor Peter Gore of Newcastle University, is delighted Falkirk will now use his technology which, he says, was developed with input from nearly 400 experienced health professionals.
So, how old do you have to be to use the LifeCurve?
Professor Gore said: “Well, the least important thing, actually, is your chronological age!”
“What’s far more important is whether you can cut your toenails or not.”
He explained: “There are 100-year-old women in California who show no signs of their body ageing but there are also 42-year-olds who are already beginning to notice the effects.”
Professor Gore has plenty of inspiring stories about people who have taken small steps gradually to improve their health – a message he’s keen to get across.
“It sounds like a cliche, but exercise really makes all the difference in the world,” he says.
“What’s really important is that people don’t just start to depend on others because that will only make the decline quicker.”
The first person to use the new centre was Joyce Ferguson, who lives in Camelon.
Joyce (77) needed a rail for her very high front door step – but if you’re imagining a frail old lady, think again.
Joyce was delighted to get the railing fitted so she could continue to go to the gym five days a week, meet friends for coffee, visit her daughter and even attend her slimming club.
She was invited along to the centre last April where “two very nice young men” guided her through the assessment.
The rail was ordered and by August had been fitted by the council.
There was a delay when the purchase order was misplaced, but nevertheless cutting out the lengthy wait for a consultation saved months.
Joyce paid for other improvements to her home that she hopes will make life easier, remodelling her bathroom and garden to futureproof them.
She will recommend the service to everyone, she says.
Visit livingwellfalkirk.lifecurve to start an assessment.