Remaining independent is a priority for many elderly people. Regular exercise improves mobility, diminishes the risk of falls and has a positive impact on cognitive abilities. But for many older people exercise is boring or too difficult if traditional exercise equipment is used. SilverFit makes exercising inviting and fun. Social conversations are easily initiated and people enjoy training together.
Innovative gyms designed for the older user
SilverFit has a lot of experience in developing gyms designed for the older user to maintain an active life. We design physical activity programmes for retirement villages, extra care schemes, assisting living apartments and housing associations for older people. A Silverfitness room exerts a strong pull on people to come and train regularly. In this way, people can work on maintaining their independence and boost their health and well-being while having fun.
Doubling the number of people engaging with regular exercise
SilverFit has introduced many Silverfitness rooms and separate systems to increase the number of people engaging in exercise. In many instances, the goal of doubling the number of people engaged in exercises has been met or exceeded.
Key success factors are:
- An accessible location
- A gym that can easily be navigated by people using a stroller
- Equipment that is specifically targeted to elderly people in terms of level and safety
- Games and visual images that motivate people and elicit social interaction
- Interfaces which are easy to use
- A well-designed implementation and marketing programme
Creating a culture where people from wider community feel welcome
Silverfitness rooms are very often used by both tenants and people from outside. People often train in groups of 6-8 people under supervision of a physical trainer. Many people come for physical training based on GP advice. Training can be general preventative fitness or specific, e.g. fall prevention.
Key success factors to create an inviting atmosphere to the wider community:
- Location; easy access for people from outside the community
- Promotion materials; GP information leaflet, press article, professional video and pictures for local news media
- Social hub; people interact with others and like to exercise together. The safe equipment for the elderly creates the opportunity to train with more people at the same time under supervision of one physical trainer.
Supporting very frail and severely disabled people to participate in exercise
SilverFit systems can be used by people of any level of physical activity. The SilverFit systems include exercises for wheelchair users, assistive device users, post-stroke survivors, people with amputation and for people living with Parkinson’s, Huntington or Dementia.
The SilverFit 3D for example has a wide range of exercises that can accommodated to suit both the physical and cognitive needs of the user. It has been developed in such a way that people at a very low level can participate. Many exercises can be done from a seated position and the person has for example only to lean left or right 2 inches. For visually impaired people simple graphics can be selected for every game.
The SilverFit Mile cycling option is suited for wheelchair users, has a very low entry level, people can bike with their arms as well and people without any muscle strength can cycle along with the motorized bike. People can bike through familiar scenes that will enhance many positive emotions and also easily initiates personal conversations. Tenants are focused on what they can do instead of focusing on their limitations, this increases their self-worth.
Delivering therapeutic programmes
Most of SilverFit’s products have been originally designed to be used during geriatric rehabilitation, both for neurological as well for orthopaedic rehabilitation. SilverFit systems are used a lot for post-stroke patients, MS or Parkinson’s. Typical exercises for this group include upper body stability, sit to stand transfer, upper extremity exercises, endurance and gait training.
The SilverFit systems are also frequently used for orthopaedic rehabilitation, especially after a total hip or a total knee operation. The first exercises are done seated, after that they can progress with walking forwards and backwards, walking laterally, lifting the knees on the spot, and squatting.
Key success factors:
- Patients directly see the results of their efforts
- Patients are rewarded with positive feedback
- A competitive element will sometimes challenge them even more
- Patients experience a feeling of success and become motivated to improve their achievements
- Exercises are based on the guidelines of the Dutch Royal Society of Physiotherapists
- Clinical protocols of exercises that support the set of exercises
Accord Furlong House in Bloxwich
One objective since longer was to integrate the wider community into Accord's services. At Furlong House they have a large number of people from the local community using the Silverfitness. People come to the gym following physio, so they can continue with physical activity. People also have said that they don't feel under pressure in this gym, they feel very comfortable, they got lots of people around them who perhaps experience the same thing.
Since Accord opened the Silverfitness gym, they have come from 8 people using the gym to 30 people in 1 year. We have swopped the gym in the conservatory with the lounge as the conservatory was too hot to exercise and too small for easy access for assistive device users and actually a very nice place for a lounge. The Silverfitness is built in the former lounge and has a great look and feel.
“The reason I now come to the gym is to keep myself fit, to keep the problems I got, arthritis, cholesterol and things like that, as small as possible. What I like about this gym is that you don’t feel intimidated about what you are doing, it’s things that doesn’t knock you out physically as they offer for the elder person. That’s why I enjoy it. And I gradually getting better and better and feeling fitter and fitter!”
- Sheila Newton, Silverfitness user in Bloxwich, England
ZZG Meander in Wijchen
The Silverfitness room has been created by the local trust to maintain or improve the well-being of elderly people living in the town of Wijchen. The Silverfitness is part of an assisted living apartment building. The gym is open two days a week from 08.00 to 17.00 and every hour 6 people use the Silverftiness room, creating a capacity of close to 100 participants. All hours are now fully booked and the physcial trainer had to open a waiting list. Two "Open House" days and good running website and facebook account of their own created a lot of interest. Most people come at a set day and time so they also get to know their fellow members. It becomes a real social hub in the community.
“We have the SIlverFitness room since 5 months and besides our residents 30 out patients who live in the community come and train weekly in our Silverfitness room. Even younger family members ask us if they can train at the same time as they are very enthusiastic about what they hear and see."
Dennis Hopman, physcial trainer, De Meander, Wijchen, The Netherlands
Groenhuysen, De Wiek in Roosendaal
De Wiek is an activity centre for people with early onset dementia. They offer all kind of activities during the day. It is located inside an old farm house with a petting zoo that is run by the community. Right from the start it was easy to double the number of members every month and they heard that most people choose to become a member of their centre because of the SilverFitness. The Silverfitness is used by a group of 30 persons; most people use the gym twice a week. Every morning and afternoon a group of 6 persons exercise for an hour.
People really like the combination of functional exercise and playing a game at the same time! The silverFitness is very popular and members told me they were convinced coming here more often because of the fun they had in the gym!”
Sander Molenaar, physical trainer De Wiek
Zorgspecialist, De HoogeBerg, IJmuiden
The explicit aim of the HoogeBerg, a centre for people living with dementia, is to be part of the overall community. The Silverfitness room has proven to be a very successful marketing tool to involve the local community and attract residents. Besides residents of the apartments and assisted living facilities the Silverfitness room is used a lot by people living in the area, including people with no medical indication. They like to come here because they can safely train under supervision of a physical trainer who is well known with exercises for the elderly. They happily keep coming as they experience a lot of fun doing the exercises and strongly feel they come to an extremely modern gym. .
"People in the community make use of our Silverfitness for their weekly workout"
Otto Korstenbroek, founder Zorgspecialist De Hoogeberg, for-profit care organisation.