The Blackall Range Care Group based in Flaxton is delighted at the response to its recent Healthy Lifestyles program which has seen many retired and elderly people join one of the Group’s nine activities from cooking to Tai Chi.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLES organiser, Mary Russell says that the range of activities, from the intellectual to the active have taken many isolated people out of their homes and into social activities offering mutual support. In addition, there has been some outstanding physical and health improvements for those participating in the more active programs. This all helps to keep people living well in their homes and local communities.
The Blackall Range Care Group has a newsletter that goes out to more than 600 people on the Range and their extensive networking uses word of mouth and feedback through Hinterland doctors, physios, health workers and retirement villages.
The Group’s Healthy Lifestyle activities are Cooking for 1 or 2, Conversation , Life Story, Gym classes, Falls Prevention, Tai Chi, and Yoga. Apart from the classes themselves, it’s the social side which is proving a great benefit for those involved.
Mary Russell is delighted at the extended social networking that comes from the regular class interactions. “From a situation of sitting at homes alone, they now do a lot of ringing each other up,” says Mary. “They go and visit each other, they look after each other’s places and do a whole lot of other social things. And that has come from developing friendships through participating in the activites.”
… in the Kitchen
THE COOKING for 1 or 2 class is about giving people confidence,” says Mary Russell. “particularly the men … to get in there and cook. And it’s about getting them to understand information about nutrition. It’s too easy to sit at home and just have a sandwich.
“Basically, every week I buy fresh produce and participants get their two fruits and five veggies pretty much every Friday, says cooking facilitator, Kim Tyrrell. “And that will vary as we try to use what’s in season. The class is also about getting them involved in the prep and having fun.
Kim agrees with Mary that the social friendships have become an important adjunct to the classes. “They watch one another’s backs and help each other outside the class,” she adds. “The aim of the class is to look at other foods and try different things. A lot of people try the recipes that I bring in and they take them home.
John Stevenson, 86
I can’t boil an egg but you learn a lot here. My wife died and I have this macular degeneration, but I have been around and spoken to hundreds of people and I would say that this is the best place for looking after old people of anywhere. If I get sick I only have to ring up and there’s a car outside to take me to the hospital – it could be half past seven in the morning.
I have been the town crier up here for 12 years. I only do Sundays because I am a bit old now. The Guild have rung me to say congratulations, you are the oldest town crier in Australia. I don’t do the crying these days, it’s too tiring but I can ring the bell …
It’s about getting together and learning how to cook. The idea is for old people who are living on their own and learning to cook small meals for themselves. You see I come from a large family ofnineandIhada tearooms at one stage and I was cooking for 30-40 for a midday meal.
We don’t know how to cook the modern way… you know … all these new recipes and healthy ingredients.
This is about healthy cooking for me. I am a diabetic so it has helped me. Kim makes sure we don’t have too much salt and spices. But I have also enjoyed coming here because of the friendship. And they’re also wonderful people here at the Blackall Range Care Group. They remember birthdays and special things.
I live on my own in Mapleton. I have learned a lot of shortcuts and good ideas in this class. Like if you put an onion in the freezer for ten minutes, it doesn’t make your eyes run. That’s a little trick. And I heard that to make gravy you use what they call gravy flour and it doesn’t go lumpy … another little trick. It’s a social thing here as well as learning to cook different ways.
THE GYM PROGRAMS are supported by the Maleny Community Gym and Maleny Physiotherapy plus Mapleton Community Gym and Range of Motion Physiotherapy. The programs focus on gentle, aerobic and strength exercises that are important for the elderly. Quite a few in the classes are now coming to the gym on their own.”
There’s a man who has been doing the Steady Steps Falls Prevention program with us,” says Mary. “He’s gone from using a walking frame for 12 to now starting to walk with a stick. He’s over the moon. Now it’s prompted him to get a personal trainer.
I have been coming regularly from November last year. Blackall Range CG have been supporting me now for a long time. I nursed my daughter with their help until she died. I had lymphoma in 2008 and the doctors told me I wouldn’t come through it. But you have to prove somebody wrong don’t you? Then I had breast cancer just before my daughter died. So I had massive problems. I put on a lot of weight, but I have lost that through hard work. Now I am down to the weight I have been all my life
. I don’t know how I would have got through the past few years without BRCG.
I am here just to get a little bit of fitness I suppose, but you can’t be too optimistic.
it’s a bit intimidating coming to the gym ordinarily. They do expect a fairly high level of fitness but I am just trying to get back into some exercise. I have also started the water aerobics class in Nambour … I am just trying to get myself off the bottom rung.
Further funding is now being sought to take the Healthy Lifestyles project from a pilot program to one that can continue in the long term.
For information about the Blackall Range Care Group, Healthy Lifestyles program contact: Mary Russell Ph: 5445 7044