EUROPEAN DATABASE of SPORT SCIENCE
17th Annual ECSS-Congress, Bruges
|Title of the paper:
||Project ACE : Refinement of a volunteer-led active ageing intervention using qualitative methods
||de Koning, J., Stathi, A., Withall, J.
||University of Bath
||Department for Health
Interventions to stimulate physical and social activity by older adults are of great public health value for the growing, inactive and often socially isolated older population. Project ACE emerged from the AVON Network for the Promotion of Active Ageing in the Community programme (AVONet; Stathi et al., 2012; Life Long Health and Wellbeing-Phase 2) which synthesised existing evidence and identified the potential physical and psychological benefits of volunteering initiatives and of staying engaged and socially connected in the neighbourhood. The ACE programme uses paid coordinators to support older volunteers (‘Activators’) to engage older adults who are not socially integrated (‘Participants’) into physical and social activities in their communities. This pilot study aimed to refine the ACE programme and highlight possible challenges and recommendations for its successful implementation.
Qualitative data was gathered from older volunteers (n=9), managers of volunteers (n=4) and older receivers of social volunteering services (n=28) who live in the city where the ACE programme will be implemented. Interview topics included the feasibility and attractiveness of the ACE programme, possible challenges and recommendations for successful implementation. Framework analysis was used to analyse and interpret the data, and practical considerations drawn.
The ACE programme was generally praised for its potential to meet older people’s needs of feeling competent, socially involved and independent. However, a number of challenges, recruitment in particular, were raised. Specific recommendations were offered which were considered to refine the intervention programme content, recruitment strategies and implementation plan.
The ACE programme offers a timely, accepted and needed initiative for older adult physical activity promotion. The most prominent challenge, that of adequate recruitment of Participants, might be minimised through the use of local media and a focus on ‘out and about’, rather than ‘physical activity’. Activator training using manuals and certificates, and support through peer meetings are highly important. The structure of meetings between Activators and Participants must be flexible and should ideally be matched for interests. Discretion must be used to judge readiness for Participants to come together in small groups. Finally, as well as organising the Participant-Activator meetings and groups, coordinators should be available to be contacted by telephone by Activators desiring to discuss Participant issues and in need of extra motivation.
Stathi, A.S. et al., 2012. Promoting physical activity in older adults: A guide for local decision makers. University of Bath.
||Health and Fitness