Getting older adults active!
In late Spring of 2016, go!PEI worked with Beach Grove Home to pilot the Seniors Mobility Program (SMP). This initiative, funded by the New Horizons Grant, aims to improve the mobility and physical activity levels of the residents with easy programs and low-cost equipment.
Beach Grove Home received the first go!CART, an activity cart filled with reasonably cost materials such as fitness equipment designed specifically to maintain and improve flexibility, strength, dexterity, of older adults facing mobility challenges. The go!CART also includes balls, blocks, and as well as instructional activity cards, to encourage residents to try various exercises with the related equipment.
The Seniors Mobility Program creates an additional opportunity for staff, volunteers and residents alike to improve their physical activity levels together through active engagement of group activities such as walking. Throughout this program, and with the materials provided, staff, volunteers, friends and family are encouraged and prompted to have active visits with the residents. The go!CART has shown to be a great tool to provide ideas and challenges to its users.
After the successful launch at Beach Grove Home, the Seniors Mobility Program expanded to three new locations, Kensington Community Care Home, The Mount Continuing Care Community and Geneva Villa, in the Fall of 2016. This was made possible thanks to the Wellness Grant through the Department of Health and Wellness.
"There is definitely a need for more programs like this in all manors, homes and residences across PEI.”
Shawna Cairns, Recreation Director
Geneva Villa expressed excitement about the potential of the project. “We’re really eager to get started with the Seniors Mobility Project. Staff are fully on board and ready to assist our residents in any way needed,” says the Geneva Villa Recreation Director. "Our residents have heard the overview of the project and are eager to begin. They’re happy that more physical activity programming will be coming their way. There is definitely a need for more programs like this in all manors, homes and residences across PEI.”
Residents at the Kensington Community Care Home range from 75 to 101 years old have benefited from the implementation of SMP. Participation in the program for residents is entirely voluntarily. Rather than looking for participants, the residents are often waiting and ready for the classes to begin. There have been fewer doctor visits and no hospital admittance. In fact, this past winter, there was no flu outbreak in the facility. The Activity Director, Carol Evans shared with us that "If I was a betting lady, which I’m not, I would bet it's the fitness program that is keeping us well, healthy, and strong".
Similar to Geneva Villa and Kensington Community Care Home, The Mount Community Care Community residents are equally enjoying this additional resource to their recreational program. "It is a great way to get the residents to interact with each other while experiencing the benefits of physical activity. These classes are filled with smiles and laughter" says Charmaine MacGregor, Activity Coordinator.
These four facilities have been champions of the Seniors Mobility Program, with engaged staff and residents. The additional resources available in these facilities have created new opportunities to increase physical activity levels. The feedback we have received from residents, staff and the general public has been welcoming and encouraging. We continually search for new funding opportunities to roll this program, among others, into local communities. Most recently, we received another New Horizons Grant which will allow us to bring six new facilities into the SMP network.
For more information about this project, please contact Jamie Gosbee at firstname.lastname@example.org