Personal trainer helps care home’s elderly turn back time

Read Melissa McAlees article on keeping fit in residential care – A lovely insight into the positive effect for some residents at Pine Martin Grange Care Home …

Care home residents in their seventies are seizing the opportunity to get physical in their new state-of-the art gym, proving that age is no barrier when it comes to working out.

Turning back the clock at Pine Martin Grange’s gym

Adopting the ‘healthy body healthy mind’ philosophy, Pine Martin Grange Care Home is Dorset’s latest setting to promote health and wellbeing among residents and staff.

Chief executive officer, Oliver Sargent, says: “Moving into a care home should be about improving your quality of life – getting fit again, spending more time with friends and family and doing more of what you enjoy.”

In the UK, going to the gym is seen as a young person’s game but latest research shows that older people can benefit from strength training every bit as much as younger people.

According to NHS Choices, improving strength and fitness can lead to increased mobility, improved balance, reduced joint pain and improved mental agility.

Rob Whistlecroft, from HUR, a provider of specialist gym equipment, has overseen the development of the gym at Pine Martin Grange and is excited to see the positive impact it will have on residents.

He said: “There are very few care homes in the country that are installing proper gyms, but soon it will become the norm. The gym has state-of-the-art equipment that uses air pressure technology to produce low impact on joints – reducing stiffness and pain.”

‘You don’t need to be a Lycra ‘gym bunny’ to benefit from exercise’

Eighty-year-old Rees Cox, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is a regular respite resident at the home and takes part in gym sessions twice weekly.

His wife Angela Cox, said: “Rees was a Warden of a National Nature Reserve so spent most of his time outdoors. He would walk up to five miles most days over uneven ground. He could run up sand dunes faster than most schoolchildren! He retired 21 years ago but began to have falls and slowed; this was the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s which was finally diagnosed three years ago.”

Clare Barrat is a qualified personal trainer at the home and has created a tailor-made program to improve Mr Cox’s balance and muscle tone. His workout begins with a five-minute warm up, followed by 40 minutes of training on five weight resistant machines – finishing with a five-minute cool down.

“It is very noticeable that the day after the gym Rees is brighter and feels happier,” said Ms Cox. “Both ourselves and the new friends we have made at the gym have been pleasantly surprised at how much better we all feel after just a few weeks, even though we have remained at a comfortable level of exercises.

“It goes to show, you don’t need to be a Lycra ‘gym bunny’ to benefit from exercise.”

Pine Martin Grange is currently running a study with 12 volunteers from the local community. Over a 12-week period of weekly training, the home will be measuring strength, balance, and wellbeing. The results will be published in early April.

Located in the historic town of Wareham, Dorset, Pine Martin Grange is a care home with nursing. Extensive facilities include a beauty salon, library, free bar, cinema club and jacuzzi baths.

Click here to read Melissa’s article on Care Home UK:

Thanks to Melissa for bringing this insightful and inspirational news to us – Let’s hope more residential care homes follow this example.