Fun, engaging and active: Live better, live longer event success
People with a learning disability and their carers attend Live better, live longer physical health event to learn how to live better and longer!
Football coaching, a smoothie making bicycle and sock games were part of the fun at the Live better, live longer physical health event for people with a learning disability and their carers. And essential part of the buzz was the great variety of accessible health advice on how achieve exactly what the title said: to live better and longer!
Organised by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the event was the first of its kind, focusing on preventative care, healthy living and fun activities that are easy to access or recreate at home.
Kirsten Prance, Associate Clinical Director and Acting Service Director for Learning Disabilities at Oxford Health, said:
“As we are sadly aware, there are still large health inequalities for people with a learning disability. Too many people are dying from preventable conditions or have a higher proportion of preventable illness that has a negative impact on their quality of life.
“This event was a wonderful opportunity for people with a learning disability and their families and carers to join health professionals to share experiences and gain advice to support with better health. It is part of our strategy for improving the lives of people living in Oxfordshire.”
The event was greatly supported by partner organisations, charities and voluntary organisations. Among them were Oxford United FC who ran coaching sessions indoors and outside and donated a season ticket as prize for one lucky attendee.
Emily Davies, Kieran Coxhead and Rhiannon Perry came to the event from Yellow Submarine, the award-winning charity. They had just time to take part in the indoors football session led by Rama Said from Oxford United before Emily had to hurry back to work at the Yellow Submarine café. She had particularly enjoyed finding out more about the health services available in Oxfordshire. And she didn’t mind having to head back to work:
“I love my job! The best part is customer service – I like helping people,” she said.
Rama Said and Rebekah Stapley from Oxford United FC were equally enjoying themselves. Rebekah is health & wellbeing lead for Oxford United in the Community and Rama assistant community coach in the club’s Improving Life Chances programme.
Rama said: “I mainly work with kids who’ve been excluded or are not attending school and came here to help Rebekah. It’s been a good experience. I’ve learnt a lot about different programmes I’ve never known before but which we can get involved in. And I’ve had fun!”
Rebekah said:” The main role of Oxford United in the Community is to make the whole town a better and healthier place, so it’s exciting to be here and tell people about the fun and exciting things there are to do.”
We can’t wait campaign
Learning disability advocacy charity My Life My Choice were present in force with their campaign We can’t wait. Working on the stand, Gina Regan explained:
“We want people with a learning disability to be put on the top of the waiting lists so that they don’t die before their time.”
To demonstrate the difference in life expectancy for people with a learning disability and people without, Gina had two pieces of string. And the evidence is stated on the campaign website: The 2019 Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) Report says that men with a learning disability died 23 years earlier and women 27 years earlier than those without a learning disability.
The punchily named campaign aims to stop people with a learning disability from dying early by asking for people with a learning disability to be put higher up on NHS waiting lists.
Sock games and smoothies
Physiotherapist Caoimhe O’Mahony and student physiotherapist Sinnita Williams from Oxford Health’s Learning Disability Service had a stall demonstrating fun and easy ways to keep active without having to buy expensive equipment. Rolled up socks, a balloon or a hula hoop can easily become sports kit for competitive games!
Clinical lead physiotherapist Michelle Fischer and occupational therapist David Harley shared a task on the smoothie making bike. David chopped strawberries and banana, while Michelle provided the pedal power.
“I am pleased by how many people there are; it’s turning out very successful and exciting. And I’m pleased with how many organisations are contributing. There is a great variety of programmes that people with a learning disability need access to before they get ill. It’s important to promote them.”
Day after the event, Associate Clinical Director Kirsten Prance concluded:
“It really was great and the enthusiasm and energy in the room was great. We are hoping to hold similar but shorter events around Oxfordshire, so we can reach our whole population. The other participants are keen to support, so a great start to our health promotion post Covid!”
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Published: 29 June 2022