PCN to progress with funds from Recreation and Culture grant

PCN programs have received funding through the City’s Recreation and Culture Grant that will help the community in efforts to get active.

Two Primary Care Network (PCN) programs have received funding through the City’s Recreation and Culture Grant that will help the community in efforts to get active.

One of the programs, Prescription to Get Active, is a currently existing program while the other, Aging Well, will be completely new to the community. Through the grant, $1,251.38 was designated to Prescription to Get Active, and $2,721.24 was allotted to Aging Well.

Heather Mielke, an exercise specialist with the Wolf Creek Primary Care Network, submitted an application to the grant funding program in hopes of fulfilling some needs she has seen become identified in the community.

“There’s a large population of seniors living in lots of communities, but for sure in Lacombe, that are managing to teeter just on the brink of living independently. If they have a fall or injury in their home, they are no longer able to live independently in their homes. I really want to address the need to stay functioning for those people with an exercise class,” Mielke said.

“There are a lot of excellent options for seniors and they are often the ones who have time to do these types of things. That said, you can’t keep that population as safe in large classes doing movements, so a lot of those activities are sitting. But, it’s not functional and that’s what I’m really hoping to address with Aging Well.”

According to Mielke, there are fitness programs for seniors in the area, but most address an age group of between 55-75. She said she is hoping for people who are older than that, or who are living independently and are at risk of losing that independence pending a fall or other type of in-home injury.

“With Aging Well, I really want to make it a functional program, meaning I want it to translate well into their home life. That means that they can do things like rise from sitting easily, climb stairs safely and just perform daily activities that they need to do at home.

“It’s kind of been in the back of my mind for a while, and I thought the grant opportunity gave me the chance to address some of the big barriers that were facing getting this program going.”

The funding from the Recreation and Culture grant will go towards transportation to and from the exercise class, helping to secure an activity space and the purchase of exercise equipment that is designed for use with elderly populations.

Prescription to Get Active is a pre-existing program that gained popularity in 2014 when the Alberta Minister of Health put a call out to Canadians for input on how to promote healthy living. It was recognized as the sixth most popular program in the nation.

It is currently offered across the province as a partnership between local Primary Care Networks and fitness centres and exercise facilities. Through PCN doctors, patients will be able to get a ‘prescription for activity’, as well as some sort of incentive – usually facility passes – to be able to address those activity needs.

“Normally how Prescription to Get Active programs work is the facilities that are partnered with the PCN provide some sort of incentive or offer – often times a month pass to the facility. When I approached the City they were very interested, but with budgeting and time frame it made it difficult, but they suggested I apply for funding to purchase passes up front.”

She said after speaking with a PCN representative, she was given the go-ahead to carry the project forward as it worked for Lacombe.

“I can see this being an ongoing partnership with the City and the PCN after this year. Now that they’re aware of it, they can plan ahead and budget for it,” she added.

“These programs are for people to better their health, so we hope to get lots of people involved.”

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com