How Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI) is overcoming resistance to exercise at their Coffs Harbour residential care village.
RFBI has committed to improving the health and wellbeing of its aged care residents with the introduction of specialist strength and balance gym equipment from HUR. However, encouraging the residents to give it a go and realise the benefits is not always so easy.
In April 2021 RFBI purchased strength and balance pieces and set up a new gym for the 62 residents of their Coffs Harbour village in Northern New South Wales. This is a high-care residential aged care village with residents ranging in age from 72 to 102.
Many of the residents have never even been in a gym and, whilst it was accepted that many never will, the sign-up rate was disappointingly slow in the early days.
However, one resident quickly took to the new equipment and the staff saw an opportunity,
John was an early adopter of the gym. Despite being 81 years of age, he recognised the importance of maintaining a level of fitness and sees other benefits from going to the gym
“I like to try to keep reasonably fit, or at least maintain a bit of fitness” says John, “going to the gym gives me something to look forward to each day and I like to try to beat my previous best scores [on the balance platform].”
The staff decided to use John’s enthusiasm to help get more residents to sign up. They encouraged John to spread the word about why he liked going and to talk about the successes he was having: How his doctor had commented on his improved balance and how he no longer shuffled when walking; how he now walks unattended the 350 metres to the local coffee shop and back every day and how he just feels better in himself.
John’s enthusiasm has indeed proved infectious: membership has doubled in the last month and the team are now well on their way to having a majority of the capable residents attending regularly. With more residents using the gym comes more advocates and so it is expected that membership will continue to rise in the coming months.
As John says,
“I recommend the gym because it encourages good social interaction and keeps us young at heart.”
Who wouldn’t want that?