Clients at Regis Home Care Darwin Day Therapy Centre have come up with a new basketball program that encourages older Australians to increase their ball skills. This initiative has been running for a while now, and the program has been tweaked over time to suit the clients’ needs. The idea started with four basketballs and a stopwatch, which the clients used to compete against each other, but the group quickly outgrew this format. It was decided that each client would have their basketball to play with at their pace, which created a more collaborative and enjoyable experience. 

During the exercise session, the clients dribble basketballs with both and alternate hands, throw them up onto the wall, and play with their feet in standing, stomping, and stepping positions. The basketball activity has become an essential part of the exercise program, and it is well-loved by clients. The activity provides a break from the usual routine, making exercising fun and engaging. The clients enjoy the activity with other attendees, fostering a sense of camaraderie and social relationships. 

According to Judy, the Physiotherapy Assistant who runs the activity, the basketball program has been a great success, and the clients look forward to each session. “Making some time with a basketball can help you gain strength, flexibility, and endurance, and throwing a basketball is an excellent way to stay active!” There are many health, emotional, and social benefits to playing basketball. The activity helps to strengthen muscles, improve balance and coordination, and boost heart health, while developing self-confidence and lowering stress levels. It also encourages team spirit, communication skills, and provides a sense of community. 

The clients have also shared their experiences and opinions of the program. Nina, says she “loves doing the rally and feels the benefit of it, getting her heart rate up.” She has also become aware that her hands are stronger, and she forgets about her knee pain while doing the activity. Margaret finds it “enjoyable, good fun with laughter and puffing, helping with concentration, improving shoulder pain and movement.” Joy “loves every minute of it; having a laugh with everyone and feeling more relaxed when leaving the group.” Nancy also loves doing the exercise with the other ladies and laughing together, and finds it helps stretch her arms and move, requiring concentration to add up the throws. 

Judy also loves the activity and even joins in with the group when there is a spare basketball. She feels great afterwards and says, “it is a really good workout, using every muscle in your body to throw a ball.” It has mental health benefits as well, helping with good sleep and providing a sense of euphoria.” She loves doing this routine with the clients and sees how it helps them interact with each other socially, renewing old acquaintances and meeting new attendees. Fostering a sense of companionship and community has immense benefits with over 65’s, so it is great that the Day Therapy Centre offers this opportunity for older Australians to have a safe place to exercise, interact with others, have a good laugh, and feel great when they leave. 

Regis Home Care Darwin Day Therapy Centre and their clients are an inspiration to all seniors and elderly Australians to take up a healthy lifestyle and stay active, and this basketball program is a great example of how exercise can be fun, engaging, and beneficial for everyone involved.