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Keeping fit and active at Maroochydore

29 October 2019

Keeping seniors active, able, and stable after they move into residential aged care has an enormous impact on a resident’s ability to enhance and maintain their health, independence, and quality of life. 

Sunshine Coast residential aged care community St Vincent’s Care Services Maroochydore has developed an innovative way of encouraging their residents to take part in enablement and mobility activities, tailored for each resident. 

The facility officially opened its new Enablement Centre and tailored Enablement Services on Tuesday 29 October 2019. The program provides the facility’s 130 residents with access to specialist equipment and programs, designed to invigorate residents and instil an increased sense of independence and capability. 

St Vincent’s Care Services Maroochydore Facility Manager, Howard Riach, said the Enablement program was about more than just encouraging increased exercise.

“Enablement is about 'doing with', rather than 'doing for' the individual, with an aim of enhancing autonomy and independence. It provides elderly individuals with the opportunity and confidence to relearn and regain some of the skills they may have lost because of poor health, disability, or after a spell in hospital.

“To enable an elderly person to feel better, we focus on their aches and pains, and by activating muscles, blood flow and improving circulation, we can help hold back or prevent future vascular and muscular atrophy.

“We are really excited about this program, we’ve been working on it with the residents since June this year, and it’s such a fantastic example of the many positive activities and outcomes that happen in residential aged care.”

 “What we have developed has been through full consultation with residents, families and staff, and is a facility-wide service. The residents told us what they wanted and needed, and spoke on behalf of other residents who are not as able, but expressed they would all benefit from this Enablement program, and so the concept blossomed.

“For the more mobile and independent residents, they have the Enablement Centre which is a gym-like environment, but on each level of the facility we have created smaller but effective enablement services to allow every resident to benefit, regardless of their capabilities.
“We worked closely with Aussie Fitness Equipment in Buderim to identify the right equipment to install, so that regardless of each resident’s needs we had equipment to increase body and muscle tone, and importantly, to stimulate leg muscle and circulation for those who are chair-bound.

“We’re also working with Sienna College and engaging their students studying health and fitness to assist in designing individual enablement programs. We hope this will enrich the students in their understanding of the needs of elderly people, as well as providing companionship and connection with our residents,” Mr. Riach said.

The Enablement program is part of St Vincent’s Care Services Maroochydore’s focus on delivering person-centred care, where the needs and preferences of each individual resident are made a priority when designing their care and support. In line with the new Aged Care Quality Standards, the facility places significant emphasis on consulting with residents and their families and working together in partnership to deliver services to maximise quality of life, and foster a sense of community and homelike environments within residential aged care.