NACF donates $1000 to ElderCircle Bone Builders Fitness and Exercise
February 25, 2019

ElderCircle Bone Builders Fitness and Exercise gets a $1000 grant from NACF

Are you a senior?  Have a parent or grandparent in the Nashwauk area?   If you aren't familiar with Bone Builders, NACF has supported the organization for many years because of its significant impact on the well-being of the seniors in the Nashwauk community.  And this 2018-2019 grant cycle is no different as $1000 grant has been awarded to them.

Bone Builders is a no-impact, non-aerobic fitness and exercise program designed for older adults to build physical strength, increase flexibility and improve balance, all of which can prevent falls and/or prevent/reverse osteoporosis. Bone Builders also provides consistent socialization for older adults who may otherwise be isolated and lonely. Bone Builders is designed for both already active older adults to maintain fitness and activity levels and prevent/delay the physical affects of aging, and for frail/less active adults to increase and/or regain their physical strength, balance and flexibility so they can remain independent in their own homes as long as possible.

The twice-a-week, 90-minute sessions include:

  • slow-moving arm and leg exercises using lightweight hand and ankle weights to build muscle and
  • increase bone density;
  • balance exercises to improve balance;
  • stretching exercises to increase mobility, flexibility and energy;
  • share educational information on health-related topics;
  • occasional birthday celebrations and/or potluck lunches to increase socialization.

There is no cost for participants or volunteers as all materials, weights, volunteer training and supplies are provided by ElderCircle through grants and donations. Sessions are lead entirely by volunteers age 55 and older, who are the vital component for a successful program as they lead and coordinate each site.

Without volunteers, Bone Builders simply could not and would not exist. During January-June 2018, 67 Itasca County volunteers aged 55+ (an impressive 34% increase) served 4,878 hours leading and coordinating 15 sites. In addition to arriving early to each twice-weekly session to set up the space, the volunteers lead participants through each exercise, research health related topics on their own time to share with the group, complete and submit timesheets and other paperwork to the ElderCircle office, ensure there are enough supplies and weights for a good participant experience, work one-on-one with new participants for orientation and attend a full-day training sessions twice a year.

The June 2018 Itasca County Bone Builders participant survey results indicate that in addition to preventing/reversing osteoporosis, health benefits of Bone Builders include: improved balance (85% of respondents), increased physical strength (87%), improved flexibility (85%), and increased energy (78%).These survey results indicate that Bone Builders has an impact on the health and wellbeing of participants,which directly supports the mission of ElderCircle to maintain active living and healthy independence for older adults.

Self-reported participant success stories include a client who no longer uses a cane nor a walker due to rebuilding physical strength and improving balance, and a client who no longer uses ElderCircle’s grocery shopping and delivery service because she regained physical strength enough to be able to carry her groceries from the car to her home. Other success stories include being able to put their own socks on again,more easily reach the closet shelf, remove the pop bottle cap, feel less pain and stiffness, increased energy to play with great-grand children and an improved bowling game.

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