A Digital Health and Wellbeing group for the Over 50s.

Following the difficulties with COVID, clients were missing groups and social interaction.  They particularly said they are feeling more aches and pains as they were moving less. Through joint collaboration with SOAR Health Trainer and Age Better Development in addition to weekly wellbeing calls we decided to trial a virtual class online.

Chronic or persistent pain is pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment. Most people get back to normal after pain following an injury or operation. But sometimes the pain carries on for longer or comes on without any history of an injury or operation. SOAR’s chronic pain group aims to support people to enhance the quality of life through practical and social support. We caught up with Mariam and Sofeena to find out how the zoom chronic pain sessions are going…

Who are you?

I’m Mariam and I’m a Health Trainer at SOAR who delivers the Chronic Pain groups. Since lockdown I’ve been supporting members through regular telephone calls and group exercises via WhatsApp. I’ve also delivered several chronic pain packs that include Epsom salts, therabands and a massage ball. It was really great seeing members face to face, even if it was whilst stood outside their front door social distancing.

I’m Sofeena and I’m the Age Better Coordinator at SOAR. I’ve also been keeping in touch with my members via telephone throughout lockdown and have recently started social distanced walks at two local parks. It’s been an excellent collaboration working with Naheen another health trainer.  We also wanted to support clients who are vulnerable and maybe anxious to come out.  So offering an alternative way of accessing support seemed the best way.

What’s the aim of online health and wellbeing group?

The aim of the group is to offer social interaction for the clients and raise awareness of the public health message around Covid. During the 45-minute session we talk about chronic pain support, nutrition and equipment then move on to exercises that include chair-based movements, light weights and therabands. In between exercises we all have a natter – Members have really missed seeing one another and it’s so nice to see them all laughing and smiling.

How did your members get online?

Some members were supplied with tablets and laptops funded from Age Better and others used their own devices. Sofeena got them set up on Zoom and showed them how to use it or spoke to family members who could possibly support on the day. We did a lot of texting beforehand to remind members to log on and told them what equipment they needed to bring e.g. water bottle, chair and a small towel. It was the best feeling ever watching them enter in the zoom waiting room as for many clients using Zoom and even IT equipment was the first time!

What’s the feedback been like?

Feedback about the online sessions have been great! “Thank you, Sofeena and Mariam, for arranging this session we really enjoyed the exercise.” “So happy to see people again.” “Looking forward to next week.” “We are so fortunate that you have set this up as we would not see each other. Thank you”