Exercise programs helping Elders in northern communities stay healthy
Tim Brody - Editor
A new exercise program being delivered in North Caribou Lake First Nation and Eabametoong First Nation aims to help Elders stay healthy and live well.
With training from the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), Exercise Leaders in the community are delivering exercise classes twice a week.
Monica Kanate, Health Director for North Caribou Lake First Nation, commented, “This program is great because it promotes healthy living and socialization among our Elders.”
She added, “Our Elders don’t get out too much, and we don’t want to leave them behind.”
A recline stepper and videoconference equipment has been purchased in Eabametoong First Nation.
“It’s really helping, and I’m seeing positive results,” noted Molly Boyce, Exercise Leader, Northern Ontario School of Medicine Community Liaison and Community Health Representative. “An Elder who regularly goes for medical stress tests saw the benefits for himself when he got a good score on his most recent test.”
“Through a one-time $100,000 Senior Community Grant from the government of Ontario, local exercise programs are one way to bring sustainable wellness and physical rehabilitation to remote First Nations communities.
“St. Joseph’s Care Group and VON have worked closely with both communities to create a program that works for the community and is delivered by the community. Plans are underway to expand the program to more remote or isolated First Nations in Northwestern Ontario.
“Focusing on improving the health and safety of Elders, this grant will also fund training for Exercise Leaders, development of training manuals, and the creation of videos of the exercise class in multiple languages including Ojibway, Oji-Cree and English,” a joint news release issued by St. Joseph’s Care Group, VON and The Government of Ontario informed.
“Our government looks forward to supporting positive aging for Ontario’s older adults. The Seniors Community Grant program helps thousands of seniors across Ontario to stay active, healthy and engaged in their communities,” Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility commented.
“This one-year project is so exciting because it uses a community-driven capacity-building approach to start addressing the gap in rehabilitative care services for our remote and rural North communities. The health inequities have been identified for years by communities and clinicians and formally in the 2016 Rehabilitative Care Capacity Plan for the North West LHIN,” shared Denise Taylor, Manager North West LHIN Regional Rehabilitative Care Program, St. Joseph’s Care Group
“As the Exercise and Falls Prevention Coordinator for Thunder Bay and Districts of Thunder Bay, Rainy River and Kenora, it is great to be able to bring the program north and support communities that do not have many options to keep active and practice falls prevention strategies. Our senior population is expanding and being able to provide a service to better their health and well-being is extremely rewarding and beneficial for all parties involved,” concluded Tiffany Gervasi, Exercise and Falls Prevention Coordinator, VON Canada.