The Exercise Physiologists at Longevity Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville and Randwick have been following the recent ABC series called ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’. It follows an Australian-first experiment where 4-year olds integrate with aged care residents for a period of 7 weeks, in the hope to achieve improvements in mood and mobility of the older adults.
The experiment presented some interesting results and brought to light a number of issues facing older Australians. The Longevity team decided it was a good opportunity to discuss these issues in this week’s blog.
The proportion of the Australian population aged 65 and over is expected to continue to increase. Whilst modern medicine is doing an amazing job at increasing our life expectancy, the ABC show highlights how this doesn’t always equate to an increased quality of life.
The factors contributing to poor quality of life in older adults include, for example, isolation, loneliness, chronic health conditions, limited physical capacity, loss of independence and a lack of purpose.
What did the researchers find upon entering the nursing home?
The findings from the pre-experiment testing found majority of the age care residents were weak, had poor balance and fitness and 4 out of 11 older adults screened positive for depression on the Geriatric Depression Scale.
What were the results after the experiment?
After 7 weeks spent engaging socially with the children and other older adults, participating in a range of mood boosting activities and increasing their physical activity, the post-experiment results showed very positive results. There was an 80% improvement in mood, grip strength and timed up and go test and the overall number of steps older adults took per day doubled.
You can watch the series on ABC iview.
How can Exercise Physiologists help?
As Exercise Physiologists, the experiment affirmed the positive benefits of increasing physical activity levels in older adults and that it is never too late to start achieving these benefits. It also highlighted the importance of maintaining healthy habits throughout your entire life. At Longevity, our view towards your health is a long term one, because we want you to be as independent and physical able as you can be and for as long as you can be.
We may not be cute 4-year old’s, but we can certainly get you moving more and enjoying it at the same time!
If you think you or anyone you know, perhaps a parent or grandparent would benefit from increasing their physical fitness, strength, and balance and enjoyment whilst doing so, contact the Longevity team on 1300 964 002.
Written by Courtney Maher