Clients from Arcare’s newest community, Arcare Oatlands, begin their mornings with a range of exercise sessions to prepare and energise for the day ahead.
After fuelling up at breakfast, clients motivate each other and jostle for the best seats in the house for the exercise activities, which include special visits from Encara, aged care physiotherapy specialists, as well as other fun games that get the blood flowing and the clients laughing.
In a recent session, clients used elastic resistance bands to work their upper body muscles while exercising their shoulders. Reneh, who recently turned 100-years-old, thought she would be cheeky and used the resistance band as a scarf, giving the other clients a great laugh. Her humour continued when they were instructed to complete punching movements and Reneh took it one step further with her fists up as though she was ready to spar!
As Reneh does not speak English, she cannot communicate with everyone in conversation, but her cheeky nature allows her to connect with others at Oatlands through the universal language of laughter.
The session ended with Reneh’s favourite “catch and throw” game, where she tries to trick the therapist by throwing the ball in different directions. Throwing the ball to each other may seem like a simple game, but the fun of the game also has them forget they are even exercising while also encouraging clients to move and think quickly.
Exercise sessions are now incorporated into the activity schedule daily for the clients at Oatlands, due to the importance of physical activity and how popular the sessions are. Arcare Oatlands offers a special gym fitted with a range of equipment for clients to utilise during their sessions, and if the sun is shining they also enjoy a good workout in the courtyard or lounge rooms. The scheduled time of 9.30am each day provides clients with a routine to stick by, whilst the activities and locations of the sessions provide variety.
Clients Maryanne and Arthur both agreed that exercising every morning gets them energised for the day ahead.
‘Although you may dread exercising at first, you always feel better once you have done it,’ said Maryanne.
When we asked Arthur what his favourite part of exercising was, he said it was ‘Getting it done!’
Incorporating exercise into their daily routine also allows clients to “tick one off the list” each day, as they aim towards maintaining their physical mobility, keeping a positive mindset and working with the team to stay healthy.
Physical activity brings great benefits for seniors, such as enhanced stability, balance, strength and mobility, as well as an overall improved quality of life. The Arcare Oatlands team works with clients in not only staying active, but in achieving day-to-day goals that contribute to a client’s wellbeing.
One of the latest sessions had Miran from Encara run a variety of exercises with clients that focused on upper body muscle and joint movement, as well as some relaxing breathing exercises.
‘It is important for the elderly to take part in physiotherapy in order for them to maintain mobility and strength,’ Miran said. ‘I enjoy working with residents in aged care because you are able to see their progress and have fun with group exercises.’
Many of the exercises learnt at physiotherapy sessions involve no equipment, such us the punching movements, neck stretches and breathing techniques, meaning clients can repeat the exercises in their own time.
As the Arcare Oatlands community is new, the input from the clients contributes to the ongoing development of exciting activities and initiatives that make the Oatlands community unique. Clients are encouraged to make decisions and suggestions based on how they would like to spend their time, remembering that each client is unique in their own experiences, interests and skills.
Whilst exercise sessions have become a daily routine, it is exciting to imagine the new and different activities that will become a part of Oatlands as clients continue to share their interests and develop new relationships.
They will also be working together to encourage each other to get the job done each morning, knowing they will have a good chat and laugh afterwards. Their routine start to the day will also be the start of many new ideas that will keep an ‘active Arcare at Oatlands’ through a range of exciting activities that will reflect the clients’ interests, appreciate their pasts and allow them to share it with others into the future.
As we would have all once been told to learn from your elders, we should also take the clients’ dedication to exercise as a reminder for us all to keep active!