Increasing Quality of Life for More Waterloo Wellington Seniors Through Community Support Connections 

senior exercising93-year-old Helen and her 92-year-old husband, Fred, have been attending Community Support Connections’ free gentle exercise classes at their retirement home for the past two years. “We exercise as often as we can,” says Helen. Married for 71 years, Helen and Fred hope to make it to their 75th wedding anniversary. One of the ways they intend to get there is by leading a healthy lifestyle. 

The couple began attending SMART™ (Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together) exercise classes shortly after they moved into their residence because Fred was told it would help prevent falls. 

“It’s pleasant to exercise with people you know in a group like that. The instructors have been very good. They are conscious of how everyone is doing and they watch for changes to make sure everyone is okay. I’m impressed with them!” said Helen. 

The classes have also inspired Helen and Fred to stay active throughout other parts of the day, including walking to the grocery store - a journey that can take up to a half an hour each way. Fred uses a walker to help him along and the couple stop and rest when they need to. But most importantly, they keep moving. 

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” says Helen. “It is keeping us in shape and it’s something to look forward to every day.”   

The Waterloo Wellington LHIN began funding exercise and falls prevention classes at Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More (CSC) in late 2013. The program has been a great success and is very popular with local seniors.  

In 2015, as part of the health system’s ongoing commitment to ensure equitable access to health services, an opportunity was identified to support local French speaking seniors by providing exercise classes in French. In partnership with the Centre communautaire francophone de Cambridge, CSC collaborated with the Centre in securing bilingual gentle exercise facilitators and were able to commence French language gentle exercise classes in February of 2016. 

“CSC was delighted to partner with the Centre communautaire francophone de Cambridge to provide this service. It aligns with our strategic priorities of community engagement, responsiveness and exceptional client experience.” - Jenn McDonald, Exercise and Falls Prevention Coordinator