When frozen peas just don’t do it!

Lee Farrar has fallen and broken her left wrist four times in five years in different places, so when she says she couldn’t cope without the rehab she gets at the Forest Hill AgeWell Centre, she means it.

“My arm looked like a bent fork after one of my tumbles,” she says. “It took a team of doctors to straighten it out.”

The accident-prone Lee has clocked up almost 30 falls over the last several years, including fracturing her ankle two years ago.

A few years ago, while in plaster after one of her falls, a friend told Lee about the AgeWell Centre and suggested she give it a try.

Lee did, and says she “wouldn’t be without it.” She loves the tailor-made exercises that seem to do the magic at the Seniors Gym at the centre.

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.

“It’s made a huge difference, it really has!” she says. “There’s only so much that frozen peas can do to relieve the discomfort!”

The retired Croydon proof reader struggled through the two years of COVID lockdowns, and the moment the centre was open again, she was there. Running shoes and all!

Being well and having the use of her left arm and hand again means she can get on with enjoying her life to the full. She is a member of Probus Club and headed off to watch the musical production of Hairspray the other day. She’s renovating her cabin at Eildon, loves reading and going out.

Forest Hill AgeWell Exercise Physiologist Anika McWilliams says, “Exercising can change your life – I love helping older people become more independent by doing just this. It’s wonderful to see them build up strength and confidence over the weeks.”

Anika says it is important to set achievable goals for clients. “This is so important as the clients feel a sense of achievement when they achieve these goals and it encourages them to set and achieve the next set of goals.”

Lee was also one of the regular participants from the Your Muscles Matter study in 2019 conducted by Victoria University in conjunction with Uniting AgeWell, which looked at the potentially life threatening condition of sarcopenia and how it increases the risk of falls and fractures.

And it’s good news! The study found that sarcopenia can be prevented and treated with exercise, particularly resistance training, as well as by eating adequate levels of protein. And in Lee’s case her muscle mass increased by 40 per cent over two-and-a-half years.

Read more about the study.

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