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Encouraging older South Australians to get physical

South Australian aged care provider Southern Cross Care has opened Health and Wellness Centres across six of its facilities, designed to promote active ageing among residents.
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Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) chief executive officer Mr Andrew Larpent at the Bucklands launch.

The new centres were opened following a successful trial of the program, and will support residential care customers to improve their overall mobility and strength, while helping increase their skills and maintain independence.

Initially the centres will be open to all residential care customers, with future plans to expand the program to include home and respite care customers. A further nine centres are expected to open in the next 12 months.

Each of the new Health and Wellness Centres has a range of specialised exercise and rehabilitation equipment including recumbent bikes, seated elliptical trainers, handheld and strap on weights, balance boards, parallel bars and chi balls.

Southern Cross Care believes in promoting active and healthy ageing, regardless of age or health conditions. Residents are encouraged to live an active, healthy lifestyle and challenge society’s diminished expectations of older people.

The early intervention trial program, which started earlier this year, received positive response from residents and already shown strong improvements in their physical and mental health. 

The Health and Wellness Centres are led by a team of Southern Cross Care lifestyle coordinators who have each completed their certificate III in fitness through the Australian Institute of Fitness.

Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) chief executive officer Mr Andrew Larpent launched the centres and says that “initial results have been nothing short of outstanding and demand from residents has far surpassed our expectations”.

“Since implementing the trial program, we have been averaging more than 200 attendances per week across all six centres.”

According to Mr Larpent there is a list of residents waiting to make initial appointments to use the centres and a number of others currently seeking their GP clearances so they can take part.

“We are seeing overall mobility improvements in residents including increased physical fitness, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. They are showing high levels of independence and control, setting themselves personal and meaningful goals, and also gaining a sense of achievement from their efforts.

“Once residents see the impact the recovery and exercise programs have on their physical and mental health, they really become engaged with the process,” he says.

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