Social exclusion and isolation of older people and their mental health are likely to be more significant, interlinked issues for society as countries experience an ageing demographic profile. The authors urgently need to identify effective ways of addressing these challenges that can be easily mobilised to meet diverse needs in different settings. The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of sporting memories (SM) work as one approach to help meet this need. This SM work entails the use of sports-based reminiscence to engage with older people experiencing mental health problems. To date this has especially focused on people living with dementia in institutional and in community settings.
The paper sets out the SM idea and discusses lessons learnt from case studies of its application to meet the inclusion and mental health needs of different older people in institutional and community settings.
The evidence from the application of SM work to date is that it is an effective and flexible means of engaging people to improve their social inclusion and mental well-being. It can be readily deployed in various care and community settings.
The evidence to date is of case studies of the use of SM work, and, although these are now extensive case studies, further research is needed on the costs and impacts of SM work.
SM work is a flexible and readily adoptable intervention to engage older people and help improve their social inclusion and mental well-being.
SM work can be an important part of meeting some of the challenges society faces with an ageing population profile.
This is the first paper to set out the SM work.
The authors are grateful to those who have funded the various projects discussed, including Skills for Care, though the views expressed here are entirely those of the authors. Tony and Chris are Directors of the Sporting Memories Network. Charlie has worked as a trainer for the Network. Mike is a research adviser to the network and an independent researcher.
Clark, M., Murphy, C., Jameson-Allen, T. and Wilkins, C. (2015), "Sporting memories & the social inclusion of older people experiencing mental health problems", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 202-211. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-06-2015-0024Download as .RIS
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