Calling all older people – register online now for healthy ageing research project

Sunshine Coast Council

Sunshine Coast residents aged over 65 are being invited to take part in an exciting new research project that for the first time will deeply examine the health benefits of a community-based exercise program in regional Australia.

The project, Evaluation of the Healthy Sunshine Coast Program for Older People, is part of a joint initiative of Sunshine Coast Council and USC that will see the university comprehensively assess the perceived and actual health benefits for older people participating in council’s Healthy Sunshine Coast program.

Healthy Sunshine Coast is council’s health and wellbeing program providing free and low-cost activities in a community setting. Participants access a range of affordable weekly classes and other activities to help support and maintain their health. In particular, the program offers older people an opportunity to participate in specifically tailored exercise options with fully qualified and supportive instructors.

Healthy Sunshine Coast has been paused until Monday 5 July due to the lockdown to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Each week hundreds of locals participate in Active Seniors classes throughout the region and this research will provide evidence and data to support the continued delivery of these types of programs into the future.

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the research project was timely given over-65s was a growing cohort of our population and had an increased risk of chronic diseases.

“Anything we can do to support people to lead healthier, more active lifestyles is important,” Cr Law said.

“We’re encouraging people who are interested to learn more about their health and fitness and able to commit to three health and fitness assessments over six months, to participate in this research project.

“It will provide a great insight into how participating in community-based exercise programs affects the health and wellbeing of older people in this region. This project is funded by the research partnership agreement collaboratively developed by SCC and researchers at USC.”

Project leader Dr Mia Schaumberg of USC said the research team is looking for people who are generally healthy, able to exercise at a low intensity safely, and between the ages of 65 and 85.

“We’ll compare the physical, functional, mental and social wellbeing of older people who participate in the Healthy Sunshine Coast Active Seniors program with those who exercise independently,” Dr Schaumberg said.

“We’ll also investigate program adherence, accessibility, barriers and facilitators, as well as the specific needs of the community.

“We need 100 participants from the Healthy Sunshine Coast – Active Seniors program to come on board, and we also need 100 older people who currently are not a part of the program.”

People can express their interest here: usc.edu.au/healthy-ageing

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