Town Hall embarks on three-year ‘call to action’ on healthy ageing

Camden Town Hall.

Camden Council are set to launch a ‘call to action’ strategy to support its ageing population over the next three years.

As the proportion of older adults in the borough is expected to rise from 12 per cent to 16 per cent by 2036, with the sharpest percentage increase expected in people aged 85+, the Town Hall is now set to transform the way it supports older residents.

The new strategy will focus on four priorities:

  • Reducing Social Isolation and Loneliness
  • Supporting Unpaid Adult Carers
  • Improving Awareness and Reducing Stigma of Mental Health & Dementia
  • Falls Prevention

Dr Julie Billet, Director of Public Health for Camden & Islington, said: “All too often, poor health and disability are seen as an inevitable part of ageing.

“However much of the poor health experienced in later life can be prevented, or substantially delayed into very old age. It is how we live throughout our lives and the conditions in which we live them that make a big difference to our health and wellbeing in later life.

“We also know there is a great deal we can do in middle and later life to promote, protect and improve health, wellbeing and independence – ‘it’s never too late’ is [the] key message.”

The Town Hall is set to roll out greater and proactive support for the borough’s unpaid adult carers, following complaints that more could be done to help them.

In discussions on the issue with the council, one resident said: “I have been caring for 25 years [for a relative with serious mental health issues], I have never had a carer’s assessment. Caring services are reactive not proactive.”

Another said: “I had to reduce my [working] hours, I feel lonely. It is difficult to share that my husband has dementia. I feel isolated. I stopped communicating.

Older carers will now be offered access to the Camden Carers’ health and wellbeing consultation services and be able to attend workshop sessions on healthy living, with a steering group of older carers putting together a programme of activities and visits to local attraction.

The strategy, set to be agreed at a 10 September meeting of the council’s health & adult social care scrutiny committee, will see the priorities enacted across a range of different Town Hall and health services, with an outreach team from Age UK Camden to start proactively finding isolated residents through door knocking, pop up events and street outreach.

Nearly 60 per cent of people living in Camden are aged 65+ and are single, divorced, separated, or widowed, which is significantly higher than the London average of 48 per cent.

A dementia-friendly cafe will also be operating once a month in London Zoo, with community leaders set to receive training on dementia.

St Pancras Hospital’s falls service, which reduces the risk of falling, raises awareness of fall hazards and makes changes to the home environment to prevent falls from occurring, will also now become a centralised hub providing the service for the whole borough.

More information on the council’s plans can be found here.