CORNWALL, Ontario – Thanks to a Healthy Communities Fund grant, the Seaway Valley Community Health Centre (SVCHC) has been able to provide area seniors with an exercise program designed especially for their needs.
“We had a lot of requests for a senior’s exercise program,” said Corrie D’Alessio, health worker with SVCHC, and program coordinator, who applied for funding through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports. “This enabled us to start ‘Exercise Fun for Seniors!’. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
The program began last fall with the recruitment of fitness trainer, Marilyn Parisien, who designed and facilitated the program, as well as created a take-home exercise tool as part of the first phase of the project, explained D’Alessio.
Second phase was to recruit community volunteers that could be trained through the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, to run the classes safely, for sustainability for the long term. There are currently seven volunteers certified or working on their certification. The eight-week sessions, which have been held at General Vanier and SVCHC as well as at two senior building, through a partnership with Cornwall Housing, include high, low and mixed mobility as well as chair based exercises for cardio, muscle strengthening. “It’s gone really well; there has been huge demand with well over 200 registrants in the program,” he said. D’Alessio goes on to explain that part of the grant also required a safety element, in this case a fall prevention program, created by SVCHC health promoter/educator, Nancy Harrington. “Health promotion and safety go hand-in-hand. If you are strong you are less likely to fall.” which will also be taken over by the volunteers. The idea is to get more capacity, more volunteers and grow the program to accommodate more participants, he adds. Eventually some of the programs will be designated heart wise for those with heart condition or recovering from surgery. “It’s been very successful and we’ll keep developing it in the future.” For further information or to register for upcoming sessions contact Corrie D’Alessio at Seaway Valley Community Health Centre at 613-936-0306.