Nancy Farmer and Jessica Silver are proof that friendship and business can mix! They met almost 30 years ago in the playground of their Oxfordshire primary school and now run ElWell, helping people across the county stay independent as they get older and supporting their families. Here, they answer our questions about ElWell and how to grow old gracefully…
What is ElWell and how can it help people?
ElWell helps people get the most out of life as they get older. We focus on improving our clients’ overall wellbeing. This could be as diverse as working on their balance so they feel more confident to go outside and don’t worry about falling over, arranging home modifications, (e.g. a permanent ramp into the garden) or on a social level, understanding their interests and connecting them with relevant activities outside (or bringing them into the home).
We make home visits across Oxfordshire and have a team of fantastic physiotherapists, occupational therapists and a dietitian who are all highly qualified. We understand that getting older can be confusing and stressful for not just the individual involved, but their families who are trying to help them, and we’re here to reassure and provide that much-needed peace of mind.
What made you start ElWell?
We created ElWell as we want people to want more as they get older – it shouldn’t just be about being able to manage, but instead about getting the most out of life. We’re living longer now (in Oxfordshire, the fastest growing demographic is 85 years’ and older) and we think it’s so important that people have the confidence to live the life they want at any age!
What do you hope the future holds for ElWell?
We keep being asked for accessible activities for people as they get older, so we’re going to start a free online hub full of advice and information. From unique activities and days out, things to do at home, a diary of one-off events, everything will have a review and a star rating so you can see how relevant it is. Watch this space! And if you want to trial and review a day out or service that you think would be useful, let us know!
Having spent a lot of time with the older generation, have you got any tips about how can we grow old gracefully?
Absolutely! Our top tips are:
Keep active: Over 65s have potentially the most to gain by improving their activity levels. Try a new exercise class, go for a walk, give tai chi or yoga a chance. Exercise has been proven to help reduce the risk of dementia, diabetes and other diseases.
Don’t let your interests slide: Your interests give you something to focus on and keep you young. There’s so much going on across Oxfordshire – speak with people in your local area or look on ElWell for ideas of what to do! Or if you don’t want to leave the home, think about how you can bring your hobbies into the house. There are some fantastic apps and services out there for example.
Spend time with kids: Inter-generational relationships give older people a sense of purpose (and are of huge benefit to kids too). We love Oxford Mumbler’s Nippers & Slippers club!
Realise your own value: Please remember that you have so much to offer. You could try volunteering, look after your grandkids, go to a new class – people will be lucky to have you!
What advice would you have for someone juggling young children and aging parents?
Realise you can’t do everything, ask for support and rope in others to help you
Take some time for yourself
Block out some quality time with people you love. Don’t let life-min consume you
Record the little wins
ElWell can help with at-home support or free advice online