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Felixstowe first in the country to pilot later life living initiative

FELIXSTOWE is to be the first place in the country to pilot a pioneering new initiative aimed at helping older people live healthy and happy lives. 

The Suffolk coastal town has been chosen as the ‘UK demonstrator site’ for the Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) project. 

ICOPE is based on 30 years of research and development carried out across 50 countries into the issues that matter to older people by Professor Ian Philp. 

His findings revealed that two thirds of the things they said were important to them were not being addressed. This prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to launch a global programme aimed at engaging with older people to establish what they need to live better, healthier lives and connect them to local sources of support. 

Now Felixstowe is to be the first place in the UK to trial the approach, with two other areas of Suffolk – Hadleigh and Ipswich West – following shortly after. ICOPE focuses on six associated health problems – vision, hearing, mobility, cognition, depression and nutrition. It also addresses where support could help in six areas of social need - daily living, social participation, loneliness, violence against older people, living accommodation and finances. 

Mark Shenton, Professor of Integrated Care at the University of Suffolk Integrated Care Academy (UoS ICA), and Chair of the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, is chairing the ICOPE Project Board. 

He said: “I’m really excited that Felixstowe has been chosen as the first place in the country to pilot the ICOPE project. 

“This is all about engaging with older people to find out what their issues and needs are, rather than assuming what they are, in order that we can address them properly. 

“The WHO research showed that older people usually need help with just one or two things to make a big difference to their health, independence and quality of life. 

“A unique feature of this project is that as well as assessing the needs of older people we will also be identifying their family carers to offer them an assessment of their own needs through our partnership with Suffolk Family Carers.” 

ICOPE, which will eventually be rolled out across the rest of Suffolk and north east Essex, will be evaluated by the UoS ICA. 
The ICOPE team wants to engage with older people in Felixstowe, Hadleigh and Ipswich West to find out what matters to them. 

They are holding a drop-in session at Felixstowe Town Hall tomorrow (Wednesday Feb 16) from 3.30pm to 4.45pm to which older people from the town and their carers are invited. 

Older people in Hadleigh are invited to give their views when the team visits the town’s Abbeycroft Leisure Centre the following day (Thursday Feb 17) between 12noon and 2pm. 

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