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Muscling residents out of immobility

It’s the simple things in life, like lifting a cup of tea or getting out of a chair without any aids that Hall & Prior hopes to help residents accomplish through a resistance band training program.

The program was created after staff noticed there was an increasing number of new care recipients who were presenting with low levels of strength, mobility and flexibility in their joints. The team hoped the intervention would also provide an opportunity for residents to socialise and exercise with friends.

While the class structure is flexible, residents start with a 10-15 minute warm up, focusing on both the upper and lower body, then use looped bands in a range of motions. This is followed by a cool down.

Hall & Prior said the program has brought about improvements in residents’ mobility, dexterity and muscle. Residents also noted that the initiative helps to improve mobility and said it makes them feel more independent. “Without these classes I fear my mobility would decrease,” one resident commented.

The program, Resisting Age Related Muscle Decline, recently nabbed an Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Better Practice Award.

Started in 2015 by Hall & Prior’s exercise and mobility coordinator Laura Majewski, Resisting Age Related Muscle Decline runs across five of the providers NSW homes.

“The development of this program started years ago in response to research based papers that highlighted the ‘Theraband’ as an effective resistance training device for muscle rehabilitation,” Wajewski said.

She said residents at any fitness level are able to engage in the movements. “The engagement across all homes has been outstanding and this program continues to grow.”

Current homes involved in the program are Caroline Chisholm Aged Care Home in Lane Cove, Glenwood Aged Care Home in Greenwich, Vaucluse Aged Care Home, Fairfield Aged Care Home and Aubrey Downer Aged Care Home on the Central Coast. Over the next year, the program will be rolled out across the rest of the provider’s NSW residential aged care homes.

Hall & Prior received two other Better Practice awards at the 2017 ceremony, one for its My Life, My Wishes program, which involves documenting care recipients’ final wishes, life stories, preferences and requirements and the other for reducing risperidone use among people with dementia.

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