Aged care residents still busy at the gym

Churches of Christ in Queensland Bribie Island Aged Care Service was a hive of activity with three residents marking huge milestones in their wellbeing journey. Two residents celebrated their 500th visit, and one resident their 400th visit to the onsite seniors' specific gym since it opened three years ago. Joseph McCafferty and Beth Smith were the first two residents to accomplish 500 visits.

Mr McCafferty, now 94, never skips leg day, remarking that he wishes the gym was open both Saturday and Sunday. "If it wasn’t for this gym, I would most likely be in a wheelchair," he said. For many residents the gym provides a meaningful place to socialise while exercising and improves their physical and social wellbeing. Beth Smith, 70, is often seen at the gym twice a day, and is recognised as one of the heavy lifters and a socialite among residents and staff. Bev Concas, who celebrated her 400th visit, was advised two years ago by doctors that she would never be able to walk again. Now at the age of 79, Bev continues to walk through the service and to the gym every day.

Staff, volunteers, fellow residents and family members marked the momentous occasion by holding a presentation in the community hall, awarding the three achievers with custom made T-shirts, which will no doubt be worn at the gym. During the presentation, Bev tearfully thanked staff and volunteers at the gym, saying she would not be standing today if it wasn’t for them. "I don't know what state I would be in if we didn't have a gym," she said. Bribie Island Aged Care Service Manager Anna Ward said since opening the gym three years ago she has noticed a significant difference in the mobility of residents, remarking 30 to 40 regulars use the gym per week.

There are many benefits of physical activity and exercise for elderly people. The specially designed gym at Bribie Island Aged Care uses Helsinki University Research (HUR) gym equipment with the help of physiotherapists and nursing staff to assist residents to exercise safely. "We are so grateful to Busy Fingers who donated $72,000 for us to purchase this equipment for our residents," Ms Ward said.

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Pictured: Service Manager Anna Ward (right) with Busy Fingers Secretary Sandra Tommy

Secretary of Busy Fingers , Sandra Tommy said when the fundraising organisation first donated the gym, they were unsure if many residents were going to use it. "To be here today to celebrate three residents achieving incredible milestones at the gym is amazing. "This service has and will always be a part of us. Since starting in 1982 with a group of local women who knitted or sewed to raise money for the residents, Busy Fingers has always had a strong relationship with Churches of Christ," Ms Tommy said. Churches of Christ in Queensland has been a part of the Bribie Island community for a number of decades, with the vibrant Churches of Christ Seniors Living Campus at Bongaree focused on delivering positive wellbeing for its residents through features such as the seniors specific gym.

Helsinki University Research gym equipment

The HUR exercise equipment is tailored to the individual needs of each resident, in consultation with occupational therapists and physiotherapists, to help increase their functional ability and balance, to prevent falls, improve pain and enhance their emotional and physical wellbeing.

The equipment operates with air resistance to allow smooth movement and increase weight resistance in small increments for people of all strengths and abilities to effectively exercise.

The program aligns with Churches of Christ in Queensland’s Positive Wellbeing Model of Care which promotes meaningful ageing and living life to the full so every resident can feel comfortable, safe, valued, that they belong and have meaningful things to do and have opportunities to socialise and connect to the community.

Posted March 29, 2020 in News