A pioneering Partnership project which aims to respond to growing demand for health and social care services has been launched in Northamptonshire.

The Supporting Independence Programme, funded by Northamptonshire County Council’s public health team on behalf of Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership, helps older people in our county to remain independent for as long as possible.

Lucy Wightman, director of public health at Northamptonshire County Council, said: “Ageing is part of life but hospital admissions, falls and moving into care, do not need to be an inevitable part of that process.

“The onset of early symptoms of ageing may conjure up images of an inevitable, irreversible path to a deterioration in health. However, evidence suggests that early intervention can not only stop a deterioration in health, but can result in people becoming fitter, healthier and enjoying a better quality of life.”

Average life expectancy for women in Northamptonshire is 83 and 80 for men, but the average time spent in good health is 63 years for women and 65 for men, meaning residents in Northamptonshire are living on average for 17 years in poor health.

The Supporting Independence Programme identifies early risk factors and acts to prevent the onset of more serious conditions.

It is targeted at those showing early signs of risk, such as increasing difficulty in walking, getting around or doing everyday tasks. The service provides up to 12 weeks of individual support based on a comprehensive assessment of the needs of each individual.

Available support includes help accessing local classes, events or exercise opportunities to advice on good nutrition, healthy lifestyle or managing long term conditions.

Cecile Irving-Swift, NCC Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Across England, it is well documented that the country has an ageing population but the launch of this new service in Northamptonshire means that we are ahead of the game in taking steps to reduce the pressures that this brings. There is a real opportunity to encourage the ability to age well and spend more of our lives in good health.”

More information is available by phoning 0300 126 1000 or by completing an online form at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/sip.

Those eligible will then be put in touch with an advisor for an assessment and programme of support. Eligible individuals can also be referred by their GP or any community organisation.