‘You are an amazing example to older people’

The fitness class at Crossgates Neighbourhood Network

The fitness class at Crossgates Neighbourhood Network

Did anyone see Britain’s Got Talent last week? Well thanks to 79 year old Paddy and her dance partner, Nico, 40, the pair went viral, stunning judges and the audience alike. After what is fair to say a ‘slow start’, Paddy exploded into life, doing a series of splits as she was swung about the stage. Talking about the grandma of 7, Judge David Walliams said: ‘You are an amazing example to older people’, before Alesha Dixon added: ‘I pray to God I am like you when I’m your age and bravo Nico.’

Now I’m by no means suggesting that we all take up acrobatics, but I do think there is a valuable lesson to be learnt here. And to quote a former local legend, who was still playing ping pong at the age of 91 until he sadly passed away last year; Les D’Arcy once said during an interview with him, ‘Don’t just think you can’t do it, because you can!’

Leeds has a wealth of sports and wellbeing facilities to suit all abilities. In today’s blog, Allyson Bertram, Older Peoples’ Sport Officer at Leeds City Council, talks to us about ‘Active Ageing’, and explains what we can all do, no matter what your age, to keep you young at heart. Continue reading

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Helping older (and younger!) people become as fit as a fiddle!

Active 3

When someone has an ongoing health condition, there’s often a danger it can take over, reducing their independence and stopping them doing even simple, everyday things. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. For many people, taking part in regular physical activity can help them continue to do the things that are important to them for as long as they want.

As we age, we become more susceptible to major health challenges due to inactivity, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Reduction in bone density – leading to fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Loss of mobility
  • Memory problems and dementia
  • Increased risk of injury due to falling.

“Since exercising I feel fitter, am not as breathless, I have more energy and my joints feel easier”

Regular physical activity can help prevent or slow down these conditions. To help get us started, the council has teamed up with Sport England to provide ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’ – a programme of free gym and swim sessions at all Leeds City Council leisure centres as well as beginner running, family sports activities and health walks in parks across Leeds. To find out more, visit the Leeds Let’s Get Active website.

“I do circuit training, fitball, yoga and TRX class. It gives me confidence meeting people and also we have fun”

In 2011, physical activity recommendations for older people were published for the first time. These guidelines are suitable for all fitness levels but some activities may need to be adapted with advice from medical professionals, for example following a hip or knee replacement. For guidance, see the Leeds physical activity guide for adults over 60 and find out what local people had to say about keeping fit. There’s something for everyone; with a range of activities which cost little or no money at all.

Active 2

Although I’m not 60 just yet, I think it’s really important for people of all ages to fit in a little regular exercise into their day. Fit in body, fit in mind as they say! I’ll be the first to admit it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially after a long day at the office. That’s why I recently decided to park up my car and instead opt for commuting to and from work on public transport. It might not be as intense as going to the gym or a Zumba class but, I’ve found even that brisk walk to catch a bus or train, has helped me to get fit again, and ultimately feel better about myself. There’s something out there for everyone, you just need to find what works for you.

“The first time I went to a gym I felt very self-conscious. After going a few times, I realised no one was looking at me”

This week, I’ll also be speaking to Allyson Bertram, Older Peoples’ Sport Officer at Leeds City Council to find out more about the activities on offer in the city, and also what else we can all do, no matter what our age or medical condition, to help keep us ‘as fit as a fiddle’.

Gurpreet Sarai

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Protecting our health and social care services

Our latest post this week is by Dennis Holmes, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care.

His third ‘deputy blog’ post talks openly about how the Leeds £ could help protect health and social care services.

Dennis Holmes, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care

Dennis Holmes, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care

Deputy Blog, April 2014

This month I want to try to offer some thoughts on money, or to be precise, lack of money….

I’ve reflected previously on social care values and how important they are now and will be in the future. But I suppose that while the oversight of social care is still an important part of my job, overseeing the money has gradually overtaken that in terms of where my attention needs to be. Continue reading

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Celebrating 20 years of providing help and support for disabled adults and children in Leeds


David Kemp, stores manager at Leeds Community Equipment Service celebrates with Sam Prince, executive director of operations at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Liz Ward, head of service for access and inclusion with Leeds City Council’s adult social care team.

Staff at Leeds Community Equipment Service (LCES) have been celebrating 20 years of providing help and support to disabled adults and children in Leeds. The service, which is a partnership between the council and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust has been based on Roundhay Road since it opened in 1994. It provides equipment to around 17,500 residents across the city with a range of disabilities. Equipment is provided free and can be requested from the service by a wide range of health and social care staff. Continue reading

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Christine talks about her daughter Amber’s campaign to raise Autism awareness

Christine and her daughter Amber

Christine and her daughter Amber

In his latest update for our Better Lives blog, Cllr Adam Ogilvie helps to raise awareness of Autism.

I thought I’d do something a little different for my blog piece this time. Instead of writing about a particular issue, I have done an interview with Christine about her daughter Amber who has autism. I know Christine as she lives in my ward and we regularly interact as she is heavily involved in the residents association for the estate she lives on in South Leeds. You may have seen the campaign Christine established – Amber’s Autism Awareness – particularly over the last week of activities around World Autism Awareness Month in Leeds.

Continue reading

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Fulfilling and rewarding lives

Picture provided by National Autism Society

Picture provided by National Autism Society

Leeds City Council’s Helen Gee, Autism Spectrum Conditions Commissioning and Development Officer, talks about the future developments in Leeds around making things better for people on the autistic spectrum.

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Leeds goes blue for World Autism Awareness Month

World Autism Awareness Daycropped

Being blue or going blue takes on a new meaning as we celebrate Autism Awareness Month.  Going blue is about raising awareness and encouraging people to show their support by changing the lighting in their building to blue.

Leeds Civic Hall

In Leeds, the Civic Hall, Leeds Arena and Bridgewater Place will all be taking part and changing their colours and lighting to blue.

Leeds Arena

You may have noticed that the Better Lives blog has also gone blue. You too could join in at home by using blue lights, setting up a window display, putting up blue fairy lights and lighting blue candles – or you could just go and appreciate these iconic buildings basking in a new blue light instead

Continue reading

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