Being independent is what it’s all about

Margaret Shields knows what back pain is like. That awful, terrible pain that takes over your life.

She had an operation earlier this year and is going to the Seniors Gym at Forest Hill AgeWell Centre twice a week and “getting strong again.”

“The gym is helping me a great deal,” the retired Croydon nurse says. “The team at the centre have enabled me to maintain my mobility. You certainly know when you haven’t done your exercises – you can feel it.”

The Seniors Gym has health and fitness equipment designed for older people using some equipment with air resistance and also a combination of functional exercises in a hybrid approach tailored to a person’s abilities.

Margaret says that mobility goes hand in glove with independence. “It goes against my philosophy to have to depend on other people, and to ask for help.”

Margaret says the specially tailored exercises that the exercise physiologist drew up for her have also helped her to build up her strength.

The mother-of-five and “grandmother of lots” needs to be fit. She loves working on her pot plants, does knitting, tapestry, cross stitch and patch-working and is also a member of Probus Club.

“I’m very independent, and that’s how I like it,” she says.

Uniting AgeWell’s Lead Physiotherapist Alex Phillipos says building up physical interaction is crucial to enabling older people to live their best lives.

“There’s a societal perception that ageing is accompanied by frailty and illness – and this quite simply does not have to be the case. It is unproductive and unrepresentative of older people! We can work with them through physiotherapy to empower them to enjoy using their body and to be as mobile, independent and pain-free as possible.”

Alex firmly believes that people can push their bodies to achieve great things. “I am constantly amazed at how much a body can be strengthened and improved with correct exercises. It’s wonderful to watch this happening.”

Paul Warwick, Director, AgeWell Centres (Victoria) says wonderful examples like this are evidence that AgeWell Centres are making a difference in older people’s lives. Paul says the AgeWell teams work with customers enabling them to achieve what is important for them to remain independent and living at home.

“This is done through a variety of programs and activities that are designed with and for our customers,” says Paul. “Our teams are truly making a difference!”

Our AgeWell Centres across Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat offer a suite of restorative, wellbeing and social connection services. Services on offer range at the various sites.

Learn more about our Allied Health and Therapy Programs