Delta Gymnastics has launched Seniors Can Move, an innovative program designed to introduce the use of a gymnastics facility as a viable community resource to re-acquaint seniors with the ABCs of sport: agility, balance, coordination and strength.
The program invited members from four local senior facilities - KinVillage Recreation Centre, Waterford, Wexford and Augustine House - to participate.
“There was initial reservation and even a little fear for seniors to come to our gymnastics facility,” explains Delta Gymnastics executive director Ana Arciniega. “We invited them to check it out before they joined the program and walk on our sprung floor. They took a leap of faith and decided that it was good for them.”
One concern of seniors is the lack of confidence in their abilities to move which can result in isolation and limited mobility. Chanelle Gunderson, the recreation coordinator for the Waterford, sees the program as a game changer.
“Each week I notice improvement in my seniors’ balance and flexibility”, says Gunderson. “This program has boosted their confidence and they now believe they can do activities they never thought they could do before.”
The Seniors Can Move program enables seniors to become comfortable with movement again, to join a group and practice fundamental movements in an inclusive and socially welcoming atmosphere.
“The seniors are better equipped to prevent falls and maintain their health and enhance and enjoy their quality of life,” says Arciniega. “By delivering the program at our facility, seniors are surrounded by younger members of our community which is inspiring to both young and old. Both groups develop respect and appreciation of one another. Everyone is so excited to have them at our gym.”
The groups are funded in part by the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to attend once a week classes for 10 weeks in the spring and 10 weeks in the fall.
“Regular activity and exercise is vital to the physical and mental health of our community, especially for older adults,” says Delta MP Carla Qualtrough.
Arciniega says they would like to create a template for the program so other gymnastics facilities across the country can deliver programs specifically designed for seniors.
“It would make such a difference in their lives,” she says.