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Sudbury program helps seniors build strength and flexibility to live at home longer

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Seniors ages 65-90 are exercising to improve their strength and flexibility to help them live independently in their homes for as long as they can.

“My children suggested it. My wife did because I had fallen in previous years,” said Gerry Geoffrey, 86.

Dot Klein is a retired registered nurse and certified instructor with the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging who volunteers her time to lead the classes.

“We are trying to prevent fractures for one thing falls,” Klein said.

“We improve balance flexibility and muscle building.”

Margherite Derro, 66, said the strength she is building taking the classes helped her get up after she recently fell backward down six stairs.

“I was on my back so I was able to turn around on my own and get up the stairs which I couldn’t do before,” said Derro.

Classes are held at the Colonial Inn in Coniston, which donated the large space for the seniors to gather

The program is offered twice a week for an hour and the seniors are encouraged to also do the exercises at home aiming for a total of 160 minutes of exercise a week.

“We have a home program that I give them so they have homework,” said Klein.

She said similar preventative programs for seniors are no longer funded by the provincial government. She wants that to change and has written a submission to the provincial standing committee on social policy.

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