Hundreds of older people across south Wales have been taking steps to improve their mental health, thanks to Mind Cymru and Age Cymru.
The charities have been working together on the My Generation project, which is funded by Welsh Government and has helped 350 older people to improve their mental wellbeing and social lives.
Minister for Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies AM, is visiting a My Generation event in Pontypridd on Friday 16 February to see the impact it has made on people’s lives.
Julia James, Senior Project Officer at Mind Cymru, said:
“Everyone can feel lonely and anxious at times, but we know that as you get older that feeling of isolation can increase.
“I’ve spoken to people who said that My Generation has made a real difference to their lives – they feel more confident, less anxious and generally happier. With one in four people in Wales having a mental health problem in any given year, this improvement in people’s lives is fantastic news.”
My Generation was run in Pembrokeshire, Newport, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, as well as Merthyr and the surrounding valleys. In total, 350 people took part and nearly 80% of them reported an improved sense of wellbeing.
Michael Phillips, Communications Manager at Age Cymru, said:
“There are many reasons why older people need support with their emotional wellbeing. For example trigger points such as retirement and a subsequent loss of workplace friendships, as well as a change in financial circumstances, often arrive at the same time and can overwhelm people.
“Older people are also more likely to become carers for a loved one which can be exhausting without the right support, while many will also experience bereavement at some stage.
“So it is vitally important for older people to have access to such services to help them cope with the many challenges that come with ageing.”
Following the successful trial in south Wales, My Generation will be rolled out in 10 new areas in 2018.
Marje Holly, from Rhydyfelin, attended the My Generation course and said:
“Each week I would leave after the session feeling more positive and happier than I had felt before coming to the session that day. It was good to have the space to talk as a group. Sharing stories and experiences, listening to others, learning and supporting one another.
“I really enjoyed the variety of wellbeing activities that the course offered, particularly the physical activities, these were fun and age suitable. It’s a good introduction to classes and projects that are running locally.
“My experience with the project as a whole, it has helped me increase my confidence and has inspired me to look into setting up my own social group. The project introduces you to new activities, you learn new things, make new friends and gives you the opportunity to talk.”