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St. Joseph's Care Group

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Healthy Elders Through Local Exercise Programs

Exercise and Falls - North Caribou Lake
Exercise and Falls - North Caribou Lake

Date: 2018-08-17

Helping Elders stay healthy and well. That's the goal of a new exercise program being delivered in North Caribou Lake First Nation and Eabemetoong First Nation. Exercise Leaders in the community, with training from the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), deliver twice weekly exercise classes that are good for body, for mind and for the spirit.

Monica Kanate, Health Director for North Caribou Lake First Nation, knows that staying connected is important to wellbeing for Elders and for people living with chronic health conditions. “This program is great because it promotes healthy living and socialization among our Elders,” said Kanate, who recognizes the risk that comes with isolation. “Our Elders don’t get out too much, and we don’t want to leave them behind.”

In Eabametoong First Nation, the purchase of a recline stepper and videoconference equipment provides options for exercise programming now and in future. “Its really helping, and I’m seeing positive results,” noted Molly Boyce, Exercise Leader, Northern Ontario School of Medicine Community Liaison and Community Health Representative. “An Elder who regularly goes for medical stress tests saw the benefits for himself when he got a good score on his most recent test.”

Through a one-time $100,000 Senior Community Grant from the government of Ontario , local exercise programs are one way to bring sustainable wellness and physical rehabilitation to remote First Nations communities. St. Joseph’s Care Group and VON have worked closely with both communities to create a program that works for the community and is delivered by the community. Plans are underway to expand the program to more remote or isolated First Nations in Northwestern Ontario.

Focusing on improving the health and safety of Elders, this grant will also fund training for Exercise Leaders, development of training manuals, and the creation of videos of the exercise class in multiple languages including Ojibway, Oji-Cree and English.


“Our government looks forward to supporting positive aging for Ontario’s older adults. The Seniors Community Grant program helps thousands of seniors across Ontario to stay active, healthy and engaged in their communities.”
Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility

“This one-year project is so exciting because it uses a community-driven capacity-building approach to start addressing the gap in rehabilitative care services for our remote and rural North communities. The health inequities have been identified for years by communities and clinicians and formally in the 2016 Rehabilitative Care Capacity Plan for the North West LHIN.”
Denise Taylor, Manager North West LHIN Regional Rehabilitative Care Program, St. Joseph’s Care Group

“As the Exercise and Falls Prevention Coordinator for Thunder Bay and Districts of Thunder Bay, Rainy River and Kenora, it is great to be able to bring the program north and support communities that do not have many options to keep active and practice falls prevention strategies. Our senior population is expanding and being able to provide a service to better their health and well-being is extremely rewarding and beneficial for all parties involved.”
Tiffany Gervasi, Exercise and Falls Prevention Coordinator, VON Canada

St. Joseph's Care Group Ontario Victorian Order of Nurses


For more information, please contact:

Kim Callaghan
Director of Communications, Engagement & Client Relations
St. Joseph's Care Group
Telephone Tel: 807.768.4455

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