3 marathons in 5 months and lots of jogging inbetween

Our Events and Community Fundraiser Stacey recently had the delight of meeting Angela Reid who is running the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon for Age Scotland.


Stacey met Angela in Troon, near her hometown of Stevenston where Angela had been out for a 6 mile run that morning embracing the Scottish winter weather and the scenic views of the west coast’s beaches. Just the next day Angela was due to run the Strathaven half marathon, and in March alone ran a trail half marathon, the Inverness half marathon and won the first lady spot at the Stranraer half marathon. Angela has definitely caught the running bug!!

Stacey and Angela Reid

Stacey and Angela

Angela initially started running from scratch around 4 years ago but due to personal circumstances she had to take a full year out between 2014 and 2015. Angela found herself in a poor state of health at the end of December 2014 and realised that something big had to change in her life in order to make things better.

She told Stacey ‘I knew how good running had made me feel previously, both physically and mentally and that’s what spurred me on to get my trainers back on and get myself out the door. I also had the encouragement of friends who entered me into a fun obstacle run at Chatlerhaut Park in Hamilton as an incentive to focus on. After that one day, there was no looking back and the benefits since have been priceless’

Since then Angela has set herself the target of running 3 marathon’s in 2016 along with various other running events throughout the year. Her first marathon is in Milton Keynes in May, followed by Arran in June and both leading up to the final marathon of the year in September along the scenic Scottish Highlands at the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon where Angela will be raising money for her efforts to support older people across Scotland.

Angela’s enthusiasm is also inspiring others in her local community. Once she had improved her own fitness she knew it was something she wanted to get the community involved in, and in particular older people. She went on to complete the Jog Scotland training and has started a local jogging group in her area in November 2015, the Knee High Joggers. This is a free group open to all ages and abilities. Angela can have up to nine runners go along on a Thursday night for their weekly session and has got a range of people involved from someone training to get into the police, people training for a local 10k and several members who have gone from walking around 1 mile to walk/jog up to 2 miles already.

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Angela knows first-hand the benefits of running and keeping fit and active and is keen to promote this where she can. She believes that it is never too late to start your fitness regime and this is one of the reasons she has chosen to support Age Scotland at the upcoming Baxter’s Loch Ness marathon in September.

Angela states that the earlier people can get involved in fitness and wellbeing the more likely they are to love later life. We completely agree and are delighted to have Angela on board supporting Age Scotland.

Angela Reid 4Read more of Angela’s story and show your support for her efforts by visiting  https://www.justgiving.com/Angela-Reid7

 

 

What’s it really like to abseil from the Forth Rail Bridge?

The Forth Rail Bridge is one of Scotland’s most iconic features and on the 26th June a group of brave souls will be abseiling from it SAS style to raise money for Age Scotland!

We caught up with two of our wonderful fundraisers – one who took part in the abseil event last year and one who is about to take the plunge.


Sheila Herron took part in the 2015 abseil for Age Scotland along with some friends. We spoke to her to find out a bit more about the experience.

So what made you decide to sign up for the abseil?

My elderly mum had received valuable advice from Age Scotland and this alone was worth fundraising for. It was great that she could get help and advice from folk who understand at the end of the telephone. I have worked and fundraised for other charities previously (and still do) but felt Age Scotland’s work is something important enough to do this for.

And what was it like on the day?

The organisation of the day is excellent. There’s lots of helpers and volunteers which made it feel very safe and the day go well.

I am terrified of heights, just getting onto the gantry at the bridge was challenge enough! The crew at the top were brilliant though. Climbing over the bars was ok, the letting go was the hardest part, but the guy in the climbing crew was fab; nice, calm and patient. I had loads of support on the ground from family and friends, which just added to the buzz.

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Getting to the bottom was a relief but it was so worthwhile. I’m really pleased that I managed to do it. I found it really challenging but everyone involved was so good and you get swept along with the whole feel of the day so it ended up being a really good, fun day!

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about taking part this year?

I would absolutely recommend it to anyone – it was an amazing day, good fun and had a good community feel to it. And what a relief at the bottom!

My friends and I had a great time fundraising for it. We held a coffee and cake afternoon in the garden asking for donations and folk were really generous. I’d say to anyone that signs up it’s a good idea to get the Just Giving page started early on – it is amazing how the £10s soon add up!

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You can watch a video of last year’s abseil here.

Tamlin Wiltshire (better known as Tam) has signed up for this year’s abseil.

The event is on his 45th birthday so he and his family are making a day of it. Tam has signed up for the morning abseil then they will head for a nice lunch in North Queensferry and some drinks to celebrate.

Tam has always wanted to do an abseil but he chose Age Scotland as his charity to support because he lives in a small community in Inverkeithing and is aware of how important it is to provide support for the older generation. Tam’s wife told us “Tam is excited about the abseil and of course nervous – our daughter has a word for it Nervecited!!!”


If you’d like to take part in our Forth Rail Bridge abseil event on 26th June, we still have some spaces available. Just contact Stacey at Stacey.kitzinger@agescotland.org.uk or call 0333 32 32 400

Early Stage Dementia Training kicks off!

Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Project is funded by the Life Changes Trust to support the charity in developing dementia awareness training for our staff, member groups, volunteers and partners.  In her guest blog, Training Officer Gwen James gives us an overview of what our member groups told us they want to know about early stage dementia and the training that has been developed as a result.


 

Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Project is well under way!

The first part of the project was to travel around Scotland to find out how much people know about early stage dementia. We visited many of our member groups, spoke to colleagues from other organisations, and gained some valuable and varied feedback.

Common themes from our consultations were that many people would like to know how they can reduce their risks of developing dementia, and that people would like to find out more about the support available both for those with a diagnosis, and for their friends and relatives.

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Gwen James (centre) visits Age Concern Orkney to deliver training.

As a result of this feedback we have started working on information resources. These will be available as publications and online. They will cover a variety of areas relating to dementia, from the signs and symptoms to how to live well with a diagnosis.

We’ve also developed training about early stage dementia. All of Age Scotland’s staff and volunteers have been trained, and we are now offering the training to our member groups and partners across Scotland. Initial feedback has been extremely positive and has already contributed towards making Age Scotland better at supporting those with early stage dementia.

Our training covers the following areas:

  • What is dementia?
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Reducing the risk
  • Communication hints and tips
  • Diagnosis and living well with dementia
  • Staying independent with dementia

We have arranged a number of training sessions across Scotland, which are free of charge for our members and partners to attend:

  • 19th April – Dundee
  • 4th May – Aberdeen
  • 10th May – Falkirk
  • 18th May – Dumfries
  • 25th May – Inverness
  • 8th June – Perth
  • 16th June – Stirling

We are also happy to travel to our member groups and partner organisations to deliver free training.

If you have any suggestions or contributions for the project team, or if you are interested in receiving training with your group, please contact us by emailing ESDteam@agescotland.org.uk or calling us on 0333 32 32 400.

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Quality Matters – Our 2016 National Conference

On Wednesday 16th March invited guests and representatives from over 300 Age Scotland member groups came together for our 2016 National Conference.

Attendees travelled from across Scotland to take part in the conference held at Perth Concert Hall. It was a fantastic day with much discussion about what we mean by quality of life in later life. Read on for a round up of the day. 


 

Morning Session: Care Homes, Creativity and Urban Planning

Our conference chair, award-winning journalist Pennie Taylor, kicked off the day by posing two questions to the room: When is life good? When is it not so good?MMB_1377

Answers ranged from thought-provoking to funny to poignant and it was clear that quality of life means different things to different people.

Here’s just some examples of the hundreds of responses we received:

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We were then joined by our guest speakers. First up we had Fiona Cook, Facilitator at my Home Life Scotland discussing quality of life in care homes. Fiona introduced My Home Life Scotland and its’ work to improve quality of life in care homes for those who live in, work in and visit care homes.

We were then joined by Andrew Crummy – Community Artist and Designer of the Great Tapestry of Scotland. Andrew argued that regardless of age, everyone is creative and has something to say, and went on to describe how art can bring communities together and improve quality of life for everyone.

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(L-R) Professor Greg Lloyd, Fiona Cook and Andrew Crummy take questions from the audience

Lastly Greg Lloyd – Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning joined us from Ulster University. Professor Lloyd provided a fascinating overview of how urban planning and our environment can directly impact our quality of life. He went on to consider how we may be able to play a more active role in planning in the future to ensure a better quality of life in later life.

Our speakers got the room thinking and we had many attendees posing further questions and ideas to the speakers and wider floor. You can watch footage from the live stream of the guest speakers and subsequent discussion here.

Afternoon Session: Workshops, Award Winners and Eddi Reader

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An attendee laughs taking part in the “Looking after you” workshop

After some lunch and further opportunity to visit our information stalls, many attendees headed into one of our interactive workshops. We had five in total on a range of topics
related to quality of life, including Men’s’ learning and well being, spirituality and looking after you.

 

 

Attendees then came back together to commence the Age Scotland awards. The awards celebrate individuals and groups that are doing great work for older people in their local community. It was certainly a tough year for the judges, with many quality entries. As our chief executive Brian Sloan said, we would love to have given everyone an award, but there can only be one winner!

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Eddi Reader presents Lynn Benge with the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Our winners are listed below. Click on the links to watch a 2-3 minute video about the great work they did that earned them the award.

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Award-winning singer and songwriter Eddi Reader joined us to present the awards and rounded off the conference with a fantastic performance that had the whole concert hall singing along.

It was a great day full of discussion and debate about what we can do collectively to improve quality of life for those in later life.

What do you think has the biggest impact on quality of life? What could be done to improve quality of life in Scotland? Tell us in the comments below!

All images featured in this post by Mihaela Bodlovic

Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy – what the proposed priorities could mean

This week the Scottish Government published its proposals for key priorities for the new National Dementia Strategy, which will be published at the end of the year.  Richard Baker, Team Leader of Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Project, reflects on what is being proposed and what it could mean for those living with Dementia.


 

The new strategy will be important for the future delivery of services for people with dementia. Age Scotland has taken a keen interest in its development through the work of its Early Stage Dementia Project, funded by the Life Changes Trust.

The report on the engagement process around the new strategy highlights support for continuing work on providing improved post diagnostic support for people with dementia, and Age Scotland agrees that this is vital. The Scottish Government has made a commitment to provide all those who are diagnosed with dementia with one year of post diagnostic support.  This has the potential to be of huge importance to thousands of people with dementia. Future planning in the early stages of the condition can have a huge bearing on how well people are able to live with dementia in the longer term.  However the challenge is ensuring that people with dementia across Scotland can benefit from this support without having to wait too long to access it. This will require further work, and this is reflected in the commitment in the key priorities to do more to improve the consistency of post-diagnostic services.

One area which is not currently reflected in the key priorities is what can be done to promote healthy active ageing to reduce people’s risk of developing dementia, or delaying its progression for those with a diagnosis. Healthy active ageing has long been a key aspect of Age Scotland’s campaigns, but through the work of the Early Stage Dementia Project we want to raise awareness of its importance with regard to dementia. There is growing evidence that diet, smoking and exercise can have an impact on someone’s risk of developing dementia. We believe raising awareness of this and early stage dementia more widely is important, particularly given that we know  that, on one measure, as many as half of those people with dementia have not yet been diagnosed.  The third dementia strategy will be able to reflect on real progress made in supporting people with dementia in Scotland, but will also reflect there is a great deal more still to do.

For more information about the Age Scotland Early Stage Dementia Project, please email us on ESDTeam@agescotland.org.uk.632x305_dementia_aware

Scottish Walking Football Network kick offs

Walking football is a variant of traditional football aimed at keeping people aged 50+ involved with the sport if, due to a lack of mobility or for other reason, they are not able to play the traditional game. Yesterday saw the launch of Scotland’s first national Walking Football Network.


What is Walking Football?

Although it might not sound too energetic, Walking Football is an action packed game of football – just with no running or slide tackles. And if you run, you concede a free kick to the other side!

Walking Football is taking off with clubs across Scotland and is proving to be a popular way of staying involved with the sport. As well as allowing people to keep playing a sport they love, Walking Football is a great way to keep fit and active, socialise and has been shown to improve mental health and wellbeing.

The launch of the Walking Football Network

Age Scotland are working with Paths for All, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Professional Football League Trust to form the Walking Football Network in Scotland. Our role, alongside our partner organisations, will be to support and enable the development of the game across Scotland.

The Walking Football Network was officially launched yesterday at the Toryglen Regional Football Centre in Glasgow. The event, was attended by well known faces such as Chick Young (BBC Scotland), Jamie Hepburn (MSP), Humza Yousaf (MSP) and Ken Macintosh (MSP). It was kicked off by Archie MacPherson, the ‘voice’ of Scottish football and former Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith.

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Chic Charnley, Gordon Smith, Archie MacPherson and Ally Dawson at the launch of the Walking Football Network (Photo credit: Sky sports)

Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan said “Age Scotland are delighted to be a partner of the Walking Football Network and the launch yesterday was really enjoyable. Walking Football is a great way for people to keep involved in or rediscover the sport, but it really is more than just playing football.

Beyond being more physically active those taking part are able to socialise and make new friends, which helps to reduce social isolation and improve mental health and wellbeing. It’s a wonderful initiative to be a part of and we look forward to seeing more clubs developing across Scotland.”

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Age Scotland’s Chief Exec Brian Sloan and Veteran Scottish football commentator Archie MacPherson on the field. Photo credit: Sky Sports

Craig Brown, former Scotland manager encouraged everyone to give it a try “And for those who haven’t played for a number of years, what are you waiting for? Get those boots on and start scoring a few goals!” (read the full story about the launch at Sky Sports News.)

Interested?

If you would like to get involved in Walking Football, just search for your local club or contact Billy Singh, Walking Football Development Officer by email or call 01259 218888.

 

Quality Matters – What does quality of life mean to you?

Age Scotland are delighted to be hosting our second national conference next month at Perth Concert Hall. The day brings together Age Scotland members and invited guests from across Scotland. This year we will be exploring the theme of quality of life in later life. Community Development Coordinator Elizabeth Bryan tells us more.


 

Quality of life means different things to different people. Health, relationships, social interaction, material circumstances, being involved in decision making, taking part in meaningful activities and personal development opportunities, keeping physically active and being able to access services – these are just some of the factors that are often considered to be important to ensure a good quality of life.

On Wednesday 16th March, we are expecting to bring together over 300 members for a day of discussion, networking, workshops, inspiration and the opportunity to learn more about Age Scotland’s work and services, and those of our partner organisations.

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Age Scotland’s 2014 National Conference in Perth Concert Hall

Quality of Life in later life

The morning will see us discuss the question ‘What do we mean by quality of life in later life?’ with the help of our guest speakers. Pennie Taylor, award-winning journalist specialising in health and care issues, will chair the discussion.

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We’re delighted to welcome back Pennie Taylor our Conference Chair.

Joining us on the day we have Fiona Cook – Facilitator at my Home Life Scotland, Andrew Crummy – Community Artist and Designer of the Great Tapestry of Scotland and Greg Lloyd – Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning at Ulster University. It’s set to be a fascinating discussion.

During the afternoon, those attending the conference can visit the exhibition stalls, network with other attendees, or take part in one of the interactive workshops we have on offer:

  • Ending social isolation- the Silver Line Friend’s story
  • Living life well in care homes
  • Spiritual Care matters
  • Men’s Learning and Wellbeing
  • Looking after you

Recognising those who work to make a difference

We will then go on to the Age Scotland Awards which celebrate members and partners who are doing great work for older people across Scotland. Joining us to present the awards and perform at the conference is award-winning singer and songwriter Eddi Reader. The awards recognise those making a difference in their local communities and beyond.

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Winner Andy MacDowall collects his his Volunteer of the Year award.

Previous award winners include Andy MacDowall, 82, from Oban who was our Volunteer of the Year. Despite having profound hearing loss and awaiting a hip operation, Andy regularly gives up his time to support older people in Argyll in numerous ways. You can find out more about our previous winners here.

It’s set to be a fantastic day with lots of interesting conversation around quality of life in later life and we are thoroughly looking forward to welcoming our members next month.


 

You can download the full programme here.