The Healthy Ageing Programme builds on the strengths of existing Wessex AHSN programmes to provide a cross cutting approach to healthy ageing and frailty. With 21% of the Wessex population reported to be aged 65 years or older, and 15% of those 85 years or more (ONS 2017), the ageing population presents a significant challenge across our region.
Although not an inevitable part of getting older, frailty occurs as a result of the ageing process with a decline in the body’s physical and psychological reserves. Currently 10% of those over 65 years and between 25% and 50% of those over 85 years are estimated to be living with frailty (Clegg et al 2013). Frailty presents like a long term condition in that it is progressive, has negative impacts on daily living, and fluctuates in its severity. Those living with frailty are at greater risk of deterioration in their physical and mental wellbeing after a relatively minor event such as an infection. The routine identification and management of frailty can greatly improve the health, independence and outcomes of those living with frailty, yet it is often not diagnosed until an individual experiences a major event or is admitted to hospital. The Wessex AHSN is collaborating with a range of partners across the system to add value to existing healthy ageing and frailty services through innovation and the spread of best practice with three areas of focus:
In addition, a community of practice will be developed to allow experts working in this field to share and develop approaches to improve care, as well as developing tools to help share best practice.