Aged residents in training for mobility "games"

With the 70th anniversary of World Health Day on Saturday, 7 April, local aged care home Estia Health Encounter Bay is championing the importance of keeping active in later life.


They have launched an aged care exercise program that encourages regular movement and motivates residents to participate.


Estia Health Encounter Bay Executive Director Karen Smith said with the Australian Government Department of Health recommending people 65 years and older accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days, it was crucial that older Australians remained active in their senior years.


“Just because someone may no longer be capable of participating in organised sport or high intensity physical activity doesn’t mean they should give up regular physical activity completely,” Ms Smith said.


“Older people should take the opportunity to be active wherever possible and safe, participating in a range of activities that encourage fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.”


“Our program – which is delivered under the guidance of a qualified physiotherapist – caters to participants of all abilities and focuses on safe, low impact exercises that improve mobility.”


Ms Smith said more than 20 residents partook in the program each week, with participants enjoying the class so much they often lined up 20 minutes prior to the starting time in the hope of obtaining a front row position.


“We’ve seen our residents’ mobility and confidence progress in leaps and bounds, with one participant, Catherine Bristow Smith, now opting to walk everywhere rather than being confined to a wheelchair,” she said.


“Others have experienced improved posture and proceeded to use a walking stick in place of a four-wheel walker.”


“They also find it easier to complete everyday tasks like rising from chairs without assistance.”


“It’s really rewarding to see the results of this program on display and to watch our residents benefit from new friendships and improved mental and physical wellbeing.”


Estia Health Encounter Bay Lifestyle Officer Prasad Seelam said while some residents had initially been hesitant to participate, the decision to shift outside their comfort zone had certainly paid off.


“Our residents and their families are very proud of what they’ve accomplished, with many of them resuming tasks they’d previously believed they were no longer capable of,” Mr Seelam said.


“I try to implement a new challenge or exercise in each session, and the participants now eagerly await this, which just goes to show how far they’ve come.”


“Our home has a higher demand for exercise now than ever before, and we find many program participants encourage others to come along with them to experience the positive outcomes.”


“The sessions are much more than just an exercise class; they also encourage team work and foster social interaction.”


“World Health Day is a reminder to us all that our health is something that should be made a priority, no matter what our age or ability.”


7 April 2018.