There is no doubt that the elderly is a time when a person experiences a gradual decline in physical, mental, and social well-being. It was found that decreased muscle function and strength could result in a decrease in the ability to maintain body balance. Balance is the body’s ability to maintain the centre of mass of the body by maintaining a limit of stability so as not to fall. As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.
Most countries worldwide are now dealing with an ageing population. Indonesia is not an exception. The percentage of the elderly population there has doubled compared to before. That’s why our partners Act Global decided to hold the project that is called ‘An Intergenerational Activity to Interact and Share the Smile’ in Bali. This initiative aims to create a special program where older people work with young people and is part of the project of Community: Seniors Involved – International (CSII).
On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, our partners organised an event and gave the Otago Exercise Program (OEP) to the seniors or elders in Banjar Tandeg, Tibubeneng Village, North Kuta District, Badung Regency, Bali. But what is OEP? The Otago Exercise Program (OEP) consists of 17 strength and balance exercises and a walking program, performed three times a week by the older adult in the home, outpatient, or community setting. Exercises can be done individually or in a group setting. These are exercises with simple movements and are designed to reduce the risk of falls in the elderly. It was concluded that the OEP significantly reduces the risk of death and falling in older community-dwelling adults.
Act global organised these activities with the help of Mellynia Putri, a young person from Bali who is currently studying physiotherapy at the University of Dhyana Pura, Bali. In line with her education, Mellynia has a concern with elderly wellness, with CSII activities involving senior citizens, so she guided this senior to do OEP and it should be a great example of how simple intergenerational activity can be done.
Three seniors agreed to join this activity, Mrs Ni Wayan Rengkih who is 75 years old, Mrs. Gede Putra who is 70 years old, and Mrs Wayan Edi who is 72 years old. Otago Exercise itself is carried out in simple steps:
- Warm-up is to prepare the elderly body so they do not get injured during the exercise and also aims to maintain the flexibility of the elderly.
- Balance aims to optimise and improve the steadiness of the elderly, and it will make it easier to carry out functional movements and not easily fall when they are moving.
- Strengthening aims to maintain healthy bones and muscles so that they can walk and perform daily activities independently.
- Cooling Down is an easy exercise, done after a more intense OEP, this will allow the elder body to gradually transition to a resting or near-resting state. to return the heart rate and breathing back to normal, and help reduce the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles after exercise.
- Walking, after all those series of steps, the final activity is the elder can do the walking to optimise the ability to walk and maintain the physical fitness of the elderly.
That is all the sequences and steps on how to do the OEP. And the result exceeded all the expectations, elderly were so happy with this exercise program. They shared their thoughts that the movements of this exercise were simple and easy to remember. So we can see this activity as an example that the elderly really need a platform for them to gather with their peers so that they do not feel lonely, happiness for seniors can be created by the interaction that we do as young people. They said,
“We senior citizens really enjoy interacting with young people, because seeing the energy of youth we immediately forget that we are old, and that is very fun.”
This exercise can make us realise how lonely the elder can be and it is so important that they have a platform to share their feelings. The pandemic situation even makes it worse. Therefore, this kind of exercise is crucial for their physical and psychological condition.