Case study for village and care operator investment: 9 jumps to 109 village residents joining gym in six months

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A very good news story that all village and care operators can jump onto, in line with Royal Commission recommendations and new funding.

The Royal Commission says in its recommendations (Vol. 1, Page 153):

We recommend funding incentives for providers to invest in restorative care and reablement. This should include, as an incentive to restore health and wellbeing, reforms to the assessment process such that providers retain the previous level of funding if a resident becomes healthier or less dependent.

The Commissioners also say:

We consider that the most appropriate limit to be placed on the funding a person should be entitled to receive for care at home is the value of the care component of the funding that the Australian Government would provide for them in a residential care setting. This level of funding may mean a person will be able to remain longer at home, and may be able to remain at home until the end of their life.

Made simple, the message is that Government funding will be made available to restore and support ongoing wellbeing.

This in residential aged care, plus in the family home, including retirement village homes.

Gymnasiums a funded service

Care and village operators that can demonstrate they are achieving positive restorative and wellbeing results will have access to the funding, and the new breed of gym equipment is one of the most relevant, and accountable, methods of delivery.

We have been talking to Patrick Smith, the owner of The Henley on Broadwater vertical village at Southport (QLD) this week.

He tells us that six months ago he took out his old gym equipment and replaced it with the more expensive specialist HUR equipment from Finland.

“Transformative” is the word he keeps using.

The village had a well-established culture of exercise with a variety of programs offered each day. However, the traditional gym equipment was a bridge too far for most residents that left a large gap in achieving the right health outcomes without a detailed resistance training program.

He had nine residents out of 131 residents in the village using the gym, equipped with metal weights, which he had staffed with a competent personal trainer.

With the new equipment, in six months, the number of regular residents committed to the gym has jumped to 109.

In addition, the staff have also taken up gym membership, with the blessing of the Residents Committee.

It has created one problem, it has become congested as the gym is now a great social meeting place, so Patrick is moving it and doubling its floorspace.

Why has it worked? Air and a seamless experience

Patrick says there are number of reasons it has worked over his previous gym.

The first is that HUR uses air as a counterforce rather than steel weights. It was created for complex rehabilitation and older people. The resistance can be increased and decreased by as little as 100 grams.

This has several benefits. First, the equipment is not intimidating. It’s aesthetically pleasing, almost like a piece of furniture. And no one is going to hurt themselves picking up or dropping weights.

The air technology also allows for automation and personalisation. Each resident has a card and each machine resets itself for the next user, including raising or lowering the seat to the person’s height, and adjusting the resistance to the last use by the resident. Patrick says it is ‘seamless’ and non-intimidating.

“Positive feedback within the community has triggered some peer pressure to attend and we have created circuit classes with friends to build the shared experience.”

“The result has been consistent attendance and a lift in general fitness.”

“On a personal level, it’s very rewarding for me to see Henley residents show such passion around the new gym equipment.”

Sales, data and accountability

An unexpected bonus is that the new gym is supporting new sales. Residents are telling their friends about how they are just feeling better. Patrick says they have new residents moving in on day One and asking to join the gym on Day Two.

He is equally excited that the HUR equipment will deliver data on the impact the equipment and his investment is making.

“Our goal is to keep our residents as mobile as possible so that they can continue to live a full and active life. The success of our HUR investment will be measured by that outcome.”

For the purpose of Federal Government funding, the data will demonstrate reablement and increased ‘wellness’.

Most important is the impact on residents. Patrick has the last word.

“Our oldest gym participant is 99 years old and now a committed user. Until this year, she has never set foot in a gym.”

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Top Picture: Patrick Smith (centre), Fitness Consultant Liz Webster with residents Norma Clarke (R) and Blair Bryant (L).