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Tim * is 98 and a former professional in the public sector. He now lives in independent living and is worried about the future and very lonely due to his disabilities. Elevate is the only activity where he interacts with others and we have used this as an opportunity to help him feel connected. We notice that men find it harder to socialise.

Tim started Elevate and now continues with the instructor through her follow on exercise class. He is one of the more challenging participants, as he has macular degeneration, is deaf and struggles to use his hearing aids as he has arthritis in his hands. The Elevate classes have been appealing as the instructor understands his needs and he can stand by her side and copy her movements. The small class size means that the instructor can always adapt the exercise to suit his ability.

One day, Tim shared that he was lonely and that he normally sits at a table with two other gentlemen, even though he doesn’t communicate with them. He said that they have both disappeared lately, and he sadly shared that he knew that at 98 he was ‘next’. Many of the group were talking about Christmas and he shared that he was alone, as his daughter had broken her wrist and couldn’t travel.

As it was Tim’s birthday in November, we bought him a chocolate cake and a card, and shared it with the group. He was really chuffed and emotional and stood up whilst everyone sang happy birthday to him. The skills of the instructors in being approachable and able to help bring people together is just as important as their expertise in reducing falls and we know that the instructors try to keep their classes going over Christmas as this is such a lonely time for so many.

* Name has been changed.

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