A variety of community-based organizations are banding together to help older residents stay active, increase their balance and improve posture.
Staying on their feet and moving.
Bob and Christine Nuttall recently joined the YMCA’s On The Move 50+ low-impact cardio and functional training class.
Charlene Peck photo
It’s all part of the Stay On Your Feet campaign focussing on falls prevention for older adults.
“Falls are the leading cause of death among seniors and falls prevention is part of the mandate for health units to become involved in,” explains Joanne Schulist a public health with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, who chairs the Parry Sound Stay On Your Feet Coalition. “Plus the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) funding has been made available for falls prevention for this target population.”
Some of the many partners involved in the West Parry Sound coalition are the Community Care Access Centre, Community Care Support Services, individual older adults, local Family Health Team network, the West Parry Sound Health Centre, pharmacists, Seguin Seniors’ Centre, Lakeland Long Term Care, Belvedere Heights, YMCA and the local health unit.
Stay On Your Feet meetings
Parry Sound YMCA general manager Kate Garbett represents the Y at the monthly Stay On Your Feet meetings.
“To discuss how we can keep seniors active, how we can ensure that we have an inclusive environment and how to market appropriately to seniors to attract them to get out and get fit,” explains Garbett.
Collectively the groups produce a newsletter outlining local fitness opportunities including square dancing, community walking, line dancing, stretch and strength classes, aerobics, carpet bowling, pilates, chi gong, tai chi, bowling, On The Move 50+ cycling, badminton and Scottish country dancing.
“So it’s a one-stop shop where they can see what’s happening and what they might be interested in,” explains Kate Garbett, general manager at the Parry Sound YMCA.
At the local YMCA alone, five programs are offered – one a day – for adults age 50 and over.
As well, a community walking program is held at the YMCA three times a week on a drop-in basis.
“While the exercise is really important we also recognize that the socialization is highly important,” she adds.
Enticing guest passes and free visit coupons for some of the activities are included in the newsletter, along with wellness suggestions and tips for preventing falls.
Most falls are avoidable with proper education, awareness, screening, assessment, and intervention.
“What we are definitely trying to do is create awareness that falls are preventable and are not just a sign of aging,” Schulist explains.
“Our goal is to decrease the number and severity of injuries resulting from falls experienced by older adults. Certainly in our geographical area, our seniors are a high percentage of our population.”
“The rate of falls for seniors is high,” she says, pointing to the facts and stats on Canadian falls as the reason Stay On Your Feet program was initiated.
“One in three older adults 65 and older, falls each years. One in two older adults aged 80 and older falls each year.”