Seniors use gymnastics equipment for routines to improve their balance and flexibility. (Delta Gymnastics Society)

B.C. funds pilot program to get more seniors doing gymnastics

The $150,000 province-wide program aims to build fitness and balance

The B.C. government is establishing pilot projects for seniors at up to 16 gymnastics facilities around the province, based on a successful program in Delta.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Tuesday that the Delta Gymnastics Society’s Seniors Can Move program is getting $150,000 to keep its new program going and develop a 10-week model to pilot in other communities. The program was established in 2018 with one-time federal funds.

“It’s the first of its kind in B.C. to get seniors on the gymnastics floor to improve their strength and agility,” Dix said. “This creative program is already making a big difference to the health of seniors here in Delta, through improving balance, building confidence in movement and helping with fall prevention.”

The growing senior population and increasing lifespan have become the biggest challenge for health care systems across the country, putting pressure on senior care services even as their workforce sees a rising number of retirements.

The 2016 Canadian census showed for the first time that seniors outnumbered young people, as birth rates have declined and the postwar baby boomers enter their retirement years.

RELATED: Home care declines as B.C. senior population grows

RELATED: Community program reaches out to isolated seniors

The province has struggled with a range of pressures, including staff levels in long-term care facilities and increasing demand for home-based care. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie reported in January that the number of seniors receiving home support services decreased by 1.4 per cent in 2018, as B.C.’s senior population grew by four per cent. The population of seniors older than 85 grew by five per cent, according to the latest B.C. seniors monitoring report.

Dix and Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon said the gymnastics program is also a way for seniors to prevent isolation as their physical abilities decline.

“Social connectivity can help them stay at home and in their communities longer, and we know how important that is for seniors,” Kahlon said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford Hospital COVID-19 outbreak over, a new one reported at business

New World Technologies is site of ‘very small’ outbreak, says Dr. Bonnie Henry

Solidarity demonstration planned for Abbotsford on Friday

People gathering to protest police brutality and systemic racism in downtown Abbotsford

Fraser River freshet peak is coming soon

Predictions for 2020 by River Forecast Centre has the freshet peak at the Mission gauge for June 4-5

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

Chilliwack youth planning solidarity march against racism

Organizer hoping to ‘create a type of a energy in the city that we will not be silent about racism’

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read