Mrs M is 89 years old and has been a tenant in one of Renfrewshire council’s 10 sheltered housing complexes for over eight years.
Mrs M is blind in her right eye, in recent years has been coping with severe pain due to arthritis and uses walking aids.
After being widowed six years ago, the sheltered housing officer noticed that Mrs M appeared to be feeling of lonely and isolated in her home.
This would’ve been particularly hard for Mrs M, as she had a very fit and active background. When she was 16, she joined the Scottish Youth Hostelling Association and went on many adventures and walking holidays all over Scotland, with highlights being the completion of the West Highland Way and long walks around Arran. It was through this hobby that she had met her husband and discovered a real love of walking.
In recent years, Mrs M had felt that her walking days were over due to her eyesight and poor mobility – she was worried that she may not be safe walking outside, even with her mobility aids.
Another tenant within the sheltered complex recommended the Paisley Puffins walking group that was recently set up for people living in the council’s sheltered and amenity housing. The group is managed by housing support’s small health and wellbeing team who plan the walks, organise transport and ensure ‘walking leaders’ are always on hand.
With encouragement from staff, Mrs M decided to give the group a try and she absolutely loved it, stating that
‘it is the best thing since sliced bread and has been a revelation to me that this kind of activity is provided within the council’s sheltered housing’.
Mrs M says that she loves getting out in the fresh air and exploring new places and she particularly enjoys getting to know people from other complexes who all meet up on the regular walks.
She says she feels safe as she knows the routes have been carefully planned to ensure they are easily accessible and flat for everyone to enjoy no matter their age or ability.
Mrs M told us that this gives her independence and freedom while walking, although she knows the staff are there if needed and she appreciates that there are always benches on every route for a rest.
Mrs M says she is in no doubt that her quality of life has improved as a direct result of attending the Paisley Puffins Walking Group, and she is fully committed to attending the group as it is now the highlight of her week.
Importantly, she also reports that she is feeling the benefits of this in her mobility and balance.
She feels stronger, healthier and fitter – both physically and emotionally.