Students Michael Tran, University of Windsor Human Kinetics and Natalie Russell, St. Clair College Social Service Worker Gerontology, facilitate gentle exercises (and lots of laughs!) in the home of a VON SMART program participant. Through this experiential learning opportunity, Mike and Natalie have access to the client perspective and voice. They learn first hand what it's like to live with a chronic condition and how important it is for our older adults and seniors to stay active, feel a sense of purpose/accomplishment and remain connected to their community. They are also learning to recognize fall risk factors and implement strategies to minimize and/or reduce those risks.
Don used to stay active riding horses everyday, his whole life- horses name was Auckley and he was the one who won all the ribbons (Don "won some some ribbons" in his day). Don and his wife have been married for "what seems like forever". Don doesn't remember a time when they weren't together. He lived in Walkerville before coming to Chartwell Oak Park in Lasalle and really enjoys it there. Says he really enjoys the VON SMART Program and that it is lots of fun- isn't too hard but is challenging enough!
Was born on May 30th 103 years ago.
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Source: An inventory of Canadian programs for the prevention of falls and fall related injuries among seniors living in the community.
A recent post from the McMaster University Optimal Aging Portal talks about how to avoid repeat visits to the hospital. The post highlights 5 evidence-based tips to help ensure you won't go until you know. To read the full post click here
1. Predict your risk: ready to return home from the hospital and/or that you may be high risk of returning to the hospital
2. Make a care plan: to ensure a successful recovery and reduce the risks of complications that could send you back to the hospital
3. Recruit your pharmacist: important, especially if you take 4 or more medications that could increase your risk of falls
4. Access post-treatment care: specialty clinics or services, community-based programs, telephone support to help check on your condition and help manage symptoms and recovery
5. Commit to making lifestyle changes: it's never too late to make changes that will improve your health and quality of life
More and more research points to the fact that physical activity is the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to our life - even if you don't start exercising until your senior years. But getting active is not just about adding years to your life, it's about adding life to your years. It's about adding more movement and activity to your day, even in small ways. No matter your age or physical condition, it's never too late to get your body moving, boost your health and outlook, and improve how you age.
Physical Health Benefits: Helps you maintain or lose weight. As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. Reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. People who exercise tend to have improved immune and digestive function, better blood pressure and bone density and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
Mental Health Benefits: Improves sleep. Quality sleep is vital for your overall health. Regular activity can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply and wake feeling more energetic and refreshed. Boots mood and self-confidence. Exercise relieves stress and the happy chemicals produced (endorphins) can help reduce the feelings of sadness, depression or anxiety. Getting involved in a group exercise class provides social connection and a sense of community. Does amazing things for the brain. Exercise can help brain functions like task-switching and creativity and can help improve focus, prevent cognitive decline and dementia.
A fall is when you slip, trip, or fall suddenly onto the ground or floor. You could even bump against a wall or land on the stairs. The fall may or may not cause injury.
The greatest health risk for older adults is living an inactive life.
(World Health Organization, 2005)
It takes a Community to Prevent Falls...
The VON SMART Exercise and Fall Prevention Team is devoted to helping older adults and seniors to engage with their community to stay active, strong and independent.