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J Interprof Care. 2007 Oct;21(5):515-28.

Promoting older peoples' participation in activity, whose responsibility? A case study of the response of health, local government and voluntary organizations.

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Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK.


The benefits for older people of participating in regular activity are well documented. This paper focuses on how publicly funded community-based organizations enable older people to engage in physical activity. The research questions were: (i) What activity promotion schemes/initiatives exist for older people? (ii) Who has responsibility for them, how are they funded and organized and what evidence exists of interagency working? (iii) Who are the older people that participate? (iv) What are the perceived and measurable outcomes of the initiatives identified? To establish the type and range of provision for older people in a sector of London, the strategies and information about existing activity promoting schemes of inner city health, local government and voluntary organizations were reviewed. Key informants were then interviewed to establish the rationale, achievements and different schemes. One hundred and nine activity-promoting initiatives for older people were identified. Most were provided within an environment of short-term funding and organizational upheaval and reflected eclectic theoretical and ideological approaches. The findings demonstrate: (i) the need for organizations to apply evidence about what attracts and sustains older people's participation in physical activity, and (ii) the need to develop funded programmes that build on past achievements, have explicit outcomes and exploit opportunities for cross agency working.

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