How physical activity can strengthen the bond between generations

Earlier this year, HND Fitness, Health, and Exercise students at UHI Perth, seized the opportunity to take part in our Strength and Balance workshop as part of their course curriculum.

Amy has used her training by working with her grandad, James, to build strength and improve his balance.

The workshop upskills those working in a healthcare setting to encourage mobility and activity and build Strength and Balance movements into daily care.  Armed with newfound skills and learning, students then opted into a work-based placement to work directly with care home residents across the region.

One of the students, Amy, spent 12 weeks at Kincarrathie House working on an individual and group basis with residents. Using our Strength and Balance movements, Amy worked with residents to build strength and improve balance, whilst promoting the benefits of socialised physical activity. Over the weeks more residents started to take part and Amy evidenced a clear improvement in everyone’s overall wellbeing.

Karin Skeet, Activities Coordinator at Kincarrathie House said,

Amy made several visits to Kincarrathie and mainly focused on getting to know the residents and spending quality time with them. The residents appreciated Amy’s interest and her visits gave them the opportunity for some valued individual attention, as well as the opportunity to spend time with someone from a younger generation with whom they could exchange views and compare knowledge and life experiences.

Since taking part in the Strength and Balance workshop, Amy has been spending valuable time with her grandad (James), supporting him to build strength, improve his balance, and stamina to reignite his enthusiasm for daily physical activity. Combining other gym-based exercise, Amy has evidenced her grandad lower his blood pressure, reduce his BMI (Body Mass Index), is able to walk longer distances, reduction in back pain, postural correction after leaning to one side and increased stability on both feet.

Amy assists her grandad, James, to perform a Strength and Balance movement.

Amy, said,

He (grandad) was also a bit unsteady on his feet and has experienced reduced mobility as he has aged. Being able to lead a Strength and Balance session alone and see him improve over time was amazing. At first, he was very off balance and used the wall for support and at the end he was much more stable and didn’t need to use the wall for support at all.

I really enjoyed the training, and spending time in the care home and with Grandad has improved my knowledge, experience, and confidence in both myself, and delivering the sessions with older adults. It’s been really rewarding to see the impact Strength and Balance has had, to both the wellbeing and the fitness levels of those I’ve worked with, including grandad.

James, 75, is no stranger to physical activity having spent much of his life cycling, walking, and enjoying gardening. James shares how the ability to move and be physically active has changed with age but remains important for him to stay active every day and maintain his independence for as long as possible. James speaks fondly of walking often with his wife, Mary, both purposely to places such as the local shops, and recreationally. They enjoy each other’s company and spending quality time together.

Our suite of Strength and Balance movements offer activity-based opportunities to those with long term health conditions and disabilities, by supporting improvements to balance, muscle strength and flexibility.

Amy will continue to lead Strength and Balance at Kincarrathie House on a voluntary basis to keep building her skills and confidence when working with older adults, alongside employment as a gym instructor. James continues to follow Amy’s direction in regular sessions designed to improve his physical health and reports feeling happier as a result of improvements to his overall wellbeing.

James said,

Throughout my life to get anywhere you had to walk or cycle. I’ve been active all my life, in every job I’ve ever had too. I like to do something every day, that’s really important to me.

You can find out more about our Strength and Balance offer by visiting: