A healthy past-time: residents enjoy our ‘village gym’
HBH’s physiotherapy facilities have recently been expanded into a gym for residents and staff, and it’s certainly being put to good use.
HBH Senior Living has long had a well-equipped physiotherapy department, with a dedicated on-site physiotherapist and assistants working to help our residents stay more flexible, fit and active. Recently, as part of the Eden Alternative, a philosophy of aged care aimed at making our village feel more like a home, we decided to turn this facility into a gym for residents.
As a non-profit organisation, we’re able to invest back into facilities for our residents, so our physiotherapist, Margot Andrew, equipped the gym with age-friendly equipment, and we’ve encouraged our residents to make the most of it.
“Having a physiotherapist on staff, as well as the gym, not only helps our residents maintain physical health, but it’s also good for mental health and wellbeing too,” says HBH Senior Living CEO, Bonnie Robinson. “Staying fit and flexible is important to help you stay independent as you age. It means you can do more for yourself, and not have to rely so heavily on others to do things for you, like getting dressed.”
Gwyn is one of our residents who has made amazing progress. With the help of specific exercises from the phsyio team and regular practice, Gwyn can once again lift her arms above her shoulders – something she hasn’t been able to do for a while. “I never used to be able to brush my hair, but now I can,” she says.
“Now I can brush my hair again!” says Gwyn, who is once again able to lift her arms above her head.
Many aged care facilities provide physiotherapy, but few have a dedicated centre on site, points out Bonnie. She says that several different groups within HBH use the gym. In the mornings, it’s used for physiotherapy and in the afternoons, by retirement village residents (supervised of course) and for exercise programmes such as Safe & Strong, which is run by Virtual Village East. After 4pm, HBH staff can use it as well.
“Expanding it into a gym means we all get much more use out of it,” says Bonnie, “and everyone benefits.”