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Specialised gym achieving positive wellbeing for seniors

After a successful 18 month trial at its Buckingham Gardens Aged Care Service in Alexandra Hills, Queensland care provider Churches of Christ Care is rolling out a specialised gym program to other facilities.

Churches of Christ Care physiotherapists are giving people back their independence through specialised exercise programs
Churches of Christ Care physiotherapists are giving people back their independence through specialised exercise programs

The innovative gym program is getting Redland seniors out of bed after injury and back into an active lifestyle.

“It’s quite common after a stroke, sickness or a fall that requires bed rest for a person’s muscles to decline,” Bryan Mason, Director of Seniors and Supported Living, explains.

“Our physiotherapists are giving people back their independence by designing specialised exercise programs that work in with this rehabilitation-specific equipment.”

Dubbed Buck’s Gym, the dedicated exercise room at Alexandra Hills was created with seniors in mind. Equipment has extra padding and rather than clunky weights, machines all work on air pressure.

Personalised exercise programs, created in consultation with a physiotherapist, are loaded onto a swipe card which residents use to automatically set the weight and number of repetitions they can safely lift on each piece of equipment. It also keeps a record of their regime and progress meaning an accurate review of results.

The program has had an uplifting effect on the positive wellbeing of both staff and residents

“Most gym equipment only allows a five kilogram change in weight. These weights can be set at 100 gram increments, which is safe and gentle and means no muscle fatigue the next day,” says physiotherapist Craig Wilson.

He tells of the incredible progress of one lady who had been in hospital where she was told she would never walk again.

“The physios started her off on a light exercise program, then got her in the gym. After a couple of months she stood up on her own and walked,” Mr Mason says.

“Another resident, post cancer treatment wasn’t able to lift a cup. After time in the gym lifting weights, the 86-year old has now put on muscle and increased his strength by 900 percent.”

According to Mr Mason the Buck’s Gym program has had an uplifting effect on the positive wellbeing of both staff and residents.

“We are inspired by these results. The more uplift we can bring to a person, the less they are thinking about the things they can’t do and more about the things they can.”

The specialised equipment will be rolled out to Churches of Christ Care’s residential aged care services at Bribie Island, Moonah Park, Hervey Bay and Maryborough later this year.

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