week, the Federal Minister for Ageing, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP, released a statement on the impressive results of a two-year,
$1.4 million government funded study for older adults with aged care needs.
resistance and balance training (PRBT) study, Muscling Up Against Disability (MUAD), was supervised and delivered
by Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs).
& Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is pleased to see the Federal Government
recognising the crucial role structured physical exercise and building strength
plays in improving the health, independence and quality of life of older
chronic, age associated physical and cognitive declines can be delayed by participation
in regular exercise. ESSA is calling for physical activity and exercise to be
included as a routine part of aged care and health services, and the results of
the PRBT study significantly highlight these benefits,” says Alex Lawrence,
ESSA Policy and Advocacy Officer.
On average, the
program participants registered a:
33% improvement in leg strength
13% increase in overall physical performance
23% drop in the risk of sarcopenia (muscle
7% reduction in frailty
Significant reduction in falls
Reduction in depression and anxiety.
benefits of the study were well received by participants, with more than 80% of
them continuing to train after the study period ended, even though they had to self-fund
their participation. In addition to the significant physical and cognitive
benefits, participants positively reported reduced pain, improved energy and
how much more competent they felt in and away from the home,” explains Dr
Timothy Henwood, lead researcher for the Muscling Up Against Disability study.
“On the back
of this evidence, we hope the Federal Government will support a national
dissemination of the program so all older adults with aged care needs can
experience these benefits.”
also notes that, ”Exercise for older adults living in the community with aged
care needs is common, yet we still see individuals experience increasing
suggests the exercise being delivered is not evidence based or those delivering
it don’t possess the knowledge to support positive change. In the MUAD study,
the use of university trained AEPs, aware of the value of progressive training,
helped drive the significant study benefits.”
The ESSA for an
Active Nation campaign is calling for a systematic
change in how we value and prioritise best-practice exercise services. Every
person should be able to experience the physical, mental and social health
benefits of living an active life.
The need for
the Federal Government to drive sector change is substantial, with a 2008 Australian Institute of Health
and Welfare study suggesting that total health and residential aged care
expenditure will increase by 189%, from $85 billion to $246 billion (an
increase of $161 billion), in the period 2003 to 2033.
cost alone of falls will reach $1.4 billion by 2051, and a capital investment
of $33 billion will be needed by the next decade to meet the accelerated demand
for residential aged care beds,” adds Mr Lawrence.
So what is the solution?
indicates that we need to see an increased number of older Australians accessing
evidence based lifestyle services, such as exercise and diet, and for this to
become a normal and prioritised component of individuals’ care models.
“While this is
a broader education need for the individual, the aged care sector and the aged
care assessment teams, it will have positive implications for independence and
health in the long-term.”
shouldn’t stop at older adults living on their own in the community, with
evidence equally strong that those in residential aged care facilities can have
significant physical and cognitive benefits from exercise. However, for these
benefits to transpire, the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) needs to recognise exercise
physiology as a supported service type and exercise as a valuable therapy.”
guidelines for physical activity are relevant for people of all ages, exercise
frequency, modalities and intensities should be tailored to the individual by
an exercise professional, such as an accredited exercise physiologist.
information on ESSA’s advocacy to improve aged care services, please visit the ESSA for an Active Nation website.
your local accredited exercise physiologist, you can visit the ESSA website.