Ageing Well Case Study 1

How did you find out about and get involved with the Ageing Well programme?

My daughter who worked in the nursery at the Community Centre where the classes took place introduced me to Ageing Well and the Great Lever Tai Chi class. I turned up at the class one day in March 2004 and have been attending ever since. I am a dedicated member of the group and one of the more experienced class members.

How was your health prior to attending classes?

I was using three inhalers for asthma and was in and out of hospital with breathing/asthma problems two to three times per week on average. I would become isolated and housebound especially in the cold winter months. My arthritis would affect my walking and I would fall on a regular basis.

Can you mention the benefits you have gained by attending the classes?

Previously, in the cold winter months I would not go out for fear of not being able to breathe. Since joining the Tai Chi classes I have learnt breathing techniques, which have helped, to stop asthma attacks. I am now able to go out regardless of the weather and to lead a more socially active and fuller life.

I now attend residents meetings at New Prospect Housing where I live.

I feel that my health has improved, especially my asthma. I used to use three inhalers prior to starting the classes. Nine months after commencing Tai Chi I went to see the specialist at the hospital who having noticed an improvement in my asthma suggested I try and manage without the third inhaler and gradually reduce the use of it. By February 2005 I had stopped using the third inhaler. On seeing the specialist in August 2005 I was advised that the inhaler was no longer required. The specialist was aware that I had been doing Tai Chi and felt that the exercises and learning how to control my breathing had been a contributory factor to the withdrawal of the inhaler. I now no longer need to see the specialist.

The classes have given me a new lease of life. I am now more confident and relaxed due to being able to control my breathing. I can now socialise more and no longer get stressed with my arthritis. In the past stress and worry caused by my arthritis would have led to asthma attacks. I am less anxious and now l have a different outlook on life and a life that I didn’t think would ever be possible for me.

This year I was able to attend a family bonfire and not worry about the fear of not being able to breathe.

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