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Siel Bleu

Author: Delphi Jarrett
Published Date: 15 October 2010

By integrating older people into group sessions of physical activity, Siel Bleu empowers them to become active participants in society, offering social links, physical autonomy, self confidence and an incentive for active behaviour.

By 2025 the over 65 population will have almost doubled. This unprecedented shift towards ageing populations has highlighted a systemic failure of the healthcare system and a critical shortage of eldercare and prevention programs. Despite a wealth of evidence showing that physical activity can help reduce the risk of diseases and injuries and that it is more cost effective than curative treatment, health and cost benefits of preventive action are currently underestimated. Through research and showing the impact of its activities, Siel Bleu tries to make stakeholders and the society aware that injuries and other diseases are predictable and preventable.

Since its founding in 1997, Siel Bleu has offered fitness training programmes to elderly people in France, helping them to maintain the ability to function independently, improving endurance, resistance, flexibility and balance abilities and retaining their social connections. Moreover, Siel Bleu also helps raise awareness of exercise and curative treatments for older people by building strong partnerships with French government authorities and ministries such as the departments of health, elderly people and sport. Siel Bleu also conducts research about the impact of physical activity in preventing diseases and works in partnership with research institutes (INSERM), the European Commission and other European governments, such as Irish and Cataluña governments.

In 2009, Siel Bleu offered more than 105.000 interventions of physical activity, helping more than 60, 000 weekly service users. The model has already been replicated in Ireland and Belgium, but the main challenge now is to expand all over Europe, building a network of physical activity stakeholders who can delver Siel Bleu’s preventive programs, in compliance with their high quality standards.