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From strength to strength: provider’s aged care gyms flourish

Southern Cross Care CEO Andrew Larpent with wellness centre staff

Southern Cross Care CEO Andrew Larpent with wellness centre staff

An aged care provider’s success with a series of fitness and wellness centres co-located at its residential facilities has been recognised with an innovation in service award.

Southern Cross Care (SA & NT), which has established the Health & Wellness Centres at six of its aged care facilities, said that 90 per cent of residents attending reported their quality of life had improved while 86 per cent reported feeling stronger.

Now the provider’s initiative has been recognised with an innovation in service award by Aged and Community Services (ACS) SA & NT.

Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) is one of three leading aged care providers who will share their experiences of embedding a wellness and reablement approach at the upcoming Active Ageing Conference 2016. Read AAA’s previous story on their organisation-wide approach here.

Andrew Larpent, Southern Cross Care CEO, said initial results from the centres had been nothing short of outstanding. “Demand from residents has far surpassed our expectations. Once residents see the positive impact of the recovery and exercise programs on their physical and mental health, they really become engaged with the process,” he said.

The provider said it now expected to open a further nine centres in the next year.

The centres were coordinated by qualified fitness coordinators with the aim of improving and regaining residents’ strength and fitness.

The focus to improve quality of life for residents was through healthy ageing interventions that supported their physical health, social relationships, psychological and spiritual wellbeing, environment and possibilities for empowerment, the provider said.

Barbara Gutte, one of the fitness instructors involved in staffing the centres, said that residents’ self-esteem and self-worth was being built, and friendships formed.

“Residents have changed. Yes, they have become stronger, but more importantly for me is they are happier. And this is where I see the beauty of the centres, this is the holistic aspect,” sais Ms Gutte.

The provider also reported that it was increasingly attracting students from diploma of fitness, human movement and postgraduate clinical exercise physiology who wanted to complete their student placement work at the centres.

The Active Ageing Conference 2016, hosted by Australian Ageing Agenda, takes place on 4 August at Swissotel, Sydney

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5 Responses to From strength to strength: provider’s aged care gyms flourish

  1. Pina June 10, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    This is an excellent idea to co locate the health and wellness centres in the residential facilities. Is there an option (or does it already exist) to open up access to the centres to clients in receipt of Home Care Packages and/or Commonwealth Home Support services living locally to the facilities, to encourage better health and well being in a safe and welcoming environment.

  2. Sandi Walters June 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    First integrated Home Care service with a Wellbeing centre in Frankston, Victoria is a great example of providing access to fitness, therapeutic massage with day spa, targeted programs for people with Parkinson’s to improve balance, memory enhancement programs for people with dementia etc..
    It’s open to Home Care and Home support clients in the Southern suburbs.
    Pina, if your clients are living in the area please ring us on 03- 87850999.

  3. Caroline Romeo June 14, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    Agree with Pina but what about locating (with full/part funding) health and wellness centres outside residential centres so that they can be accessed by the broader HCP/CHSP clients and thereby normalise the ageing experience. But hey, totally supportive of age-appropriate gyms.

  4. Sue June 14, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    This is a great program and worthy of praise. I also agree with further comments re broader access to age-friendly fitness centres. I am very surprised in consideration of the ‘ageing’ of our population, that the big gym businesses haven’t awakened to this fact and set up services targeting older people. Lets see the equivalent of ‘Zap’ for elders in every shopping centre!

  5. Dave June 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    It’s a step in the right direction, but the staffing model looks a bit wonky. Simply re-purposing your RAOs with an online Cert 3 in personal training wont equip them with the skills required to assess, treat and manage the range of comorbidities prevalent among high care residents. Buzzwords like wellness and reablement don’t negate existing diagnoses.

    The Qualified Personal Trainer title isn’t as impressive as it sounds. Why no Physios or OTs or even EPs? Or is this aged care’s new definition of a skilled workforce where costly university trained clinicians are replaced with online certifications? RNs, Physios, Dietitians; who needs them? Is it too soon to swap GPs for St John’s Ambulance first aid volunteers?

    The best of luck to you, but don’t forget that things often go alright…until they go all wrong.

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