The unprecedented shift of ageing brings with it a critical shortage of eldercare programmes. Life expectancy is increasing but with age comes the risk of age-related degeneration, disease and the loss of functional capacity. Research has consistently highlighted the many benefits of regular physical activity and there is irrefutable evidence of its effectiveness in the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, the reduction of falls and therefore injuries and fractures. Older adults and adults living with chronic disease can often be socially isolated and Siel Bleu Ireland aims to change this
Determined to find a solution to inactive ageing, two sports science students from the University of Strasbourg, France, founded Siel Bleu in 1997. From their studies, Jean Daniel Muller and Jean Michel Richard understood that physical activity is as equally important to older adults as it is to younger populations, and so they piloted tailored exercise programmes in 12 nursing homes across Strasbourg.
The pilot programme was so successful that 11 of the 12 nursing homes continued with the Siel Bleu classes. A number of weeks later, our founders received a call from the Director of the 12th nursing home. Such was the popularity of the classes, that upon the request of the residents, the programme recommenced.
Siel Bleu scaled rapidly across France and now delivers adapted exercise programmes in two thirds of French nursing homes. As social entrepreneurs, we want to share our solution to inactive ageing, and so Siel Bleu has expanded into Belgium, Spain and Ireland in 2010.