By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
IN an effort to create awareness of healthy aging, the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre will host its fifth annual geriatric pushathon/walkathon this month.
The event will be held on April 23 and will involve members of the Geriatrics Hospital at Sandilands as well as other members of the public. The pushathon/walkathon will commence at the centre.
The SRC pushathon was introduced in 2012 by Dr Indira Grimes, a consultant at the Geriatric Hospital, who believes the initiative demonstrates the hospital’s serious approach to providing holistic care for its elderly residents as well as the country’s senior citizens.
“The purpose of the event is to bring awareness to the community about healthy aging and the importance of physical activity amongst our elderly persons and our mentally ill persons,” she told Tribune Health
“We really brought it on in particular for the older persons in the community to come out and have an opportunity to be physically active, to celebrate healthy aging and (promote) that awareness for them as well as the general community how important it is for persons to exercise and remain active and participate in these types of activities as much as possible.”
Many families of older persons as well as the older persons themselves do not realise that even for the aged, physical activity is vital to sustain a long, quality life.
Dr Grimes said the pushathon aims to encourage mobility in those 60 years and older through a fun and dynamic annual activity that will hopefully inspire increased physical activity all year round.
“We get a lot of requests for admission to the Geriatric Hospital. A lot of the time the reason for admission is that it has to do with patients being less mobile and less functional at home and their relatives finding it difficult to care for them because of those burdens. When you come down to it, these persons were not very active and their medical problems got the better part of them due to poor control. But physical activity has a lot to do with not only keeping them mentally well, but physically well, controlling their medical problems and just keeping their general health as best as possible,” Dr Grimes said.
The general public’s support is encouraged. Persons can assist, and in some cases accompany the older persons during the activity.
“We generally can have anywhere between 200 to 300 people walking or running, or pushing a wheelchair, and that includes those being pushed. Some of our patients are able to walk, but most of them participate by wheelchair. We also get the staff at the hospital to participate as well. However, the event is open to the wider community,” she said.
Interested persons can register for the event at the Geriatric Hospital for a fee of $15.