Queensland Ballet points to Mater to deliver community care

17/Jun/2022     HealthMater Group

A partnership between Mater and Queensland Ballet is helping elderly patients and people with brain injuries improve their mobility, memory and flexibility.

Mater physiotherapists are leading tailor-made seated and standing dance classes to the community after undertaking training in Queensland Ballet’s Ballet for Seniors Teacher Training program.

Mater Residential Care and Community Services Executive Director Fiona Hinchliffe said the classes were being delivered by Mater at Home, a program that addressed the increasing demand amongst Queenslanders to access healthcare in their own homes and communities.

“The partnership with Queensland Ballet enhances Mater at Home’s offering of contemporary and evidence-based care that supports the health and wellbeing of our community,” Dr Hinchliffe said.

“Through at-home and in-community care, people can receive the care they need without having to travel to hospitals or healthcare settings.”

Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO said research conducted in partnership with Queensland University of Technology revealed ballet classes enhanced the health and wellbeing of ageing adults.

“The research revealed the classes led to positive wellbeing outcomes with participants reporting they felt more energetic, kept in shape, had enhanced bodily control and awareness as well as improved posture and flexibility,” Mr Li said.

“These findings have shaped the structure of the classes that Mater at Home offer patients and people in the community to focus on improving poise, core strength, memory and mobility”.

Stroke survivor Eleanor Platt learned about the classes through her Mater at Home physiotherapist and was motivated to give it a go after reading about stroke recovery.

“When I suffered a stroke last November, I lost mobility down my left side, affecting both my arm and leg,” Ms Platt said.

“There is a large body of research that supports the benefits of exercises such as ballet that engage movement to music to support stroke recovery.

“I have already progressed with my leg since starting the classes and can now sometimes use a walking stick instead of a walker, but my wish and hope is that I make similar strides with the use of my arm.”

Ms Platt also noted improvement to her memory and ability to follow and remember the sequence of dance moves.

Fellow participant Patricia Fomiatti, who suffered traumatic injuries to her feet in a car accident more than a decade ago, said the classes offered her the chance move in slow gracious exercise without having to push herself.

“For most participants, we live with some form of chronic pain but can do these classes with confidence because we don’t have to worry about stumbling with the support of the chair, Ms Fomiatti said.

“The classes have provided me with an increased sense of wellbeing, which is especially important as you grow older.”

Joan Bremner, a retired pastoral care worker with extensive experience working in the healthcare sector, said she had always thought it would be wonderful to do ballet classes designed for older people after taking classes when she was younger.

“My older body does not move as it did when I was younger, so it is good to extend my normal activity – the dance class helps with moving both upper and lower body,” she said.

The classes are currently being delivered in Mt Gravatt with plans to expand to sites in North Lakes and the Redlands.

Register your interest to participate at materathome@mater.org.au


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