Since starting seated exercise classes with hospice charity ellenor, 77-year-old Mavis Hollands has seen her life change for the better. Her physical health has improved, and her wellbeing has received a much-needed boost.
Mavis, who suffers from heart failure, said: “I was doing OK until Covid and lockdown. I think we all got used to being at home and doing nothing. Before that I was very active and wasn’t having any trouble with my heart, but I got in a bit of a rut and then I started to get worrying episodes where my blood pressure would drop seriously low and I felt like I couldn’t do anything. I think it was because I had become so inactive.”
Things changed for Mavis when she was put in touch with ellenor’s Wellbeing team following a referral by the heart specialist nurse at her local doctor’s surgery in the summer of 2022.
She said: “I was happy to try anything that might help me because at that point I wasn’t coping very well, so I thought I would give it a go. It has made such a big difference to my wellbeing, and I am able to move about so much more than I could before. As soon as I started attending the seated exercise classes I felt it was doing me the world of good. Although I feel tired afterwards, I think I am doing most of the exercises quite well now.”
Mavis is on the Heart Failure Pathway, an initiative being piloted by the NHS Kent and Medway CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group). As part of the programme she has also attended classes to help with her breathing and fatigue management and is particularly grateful to the hospice team for teaching her some relaxation and breathing techniques which help her achieve a more restful night’s sleep.
She said: “ellenor has given me more inspiration to try and do more than I was doing before. I might wake up on a Tuesday morning feeling I can’t be bothered to go, but I am always glad afterwards and feel it was worthwhile. What would I be doing otherwise? Sitting at home doing my knitting probably.”
Mavis has recommended the seated exercise class to a lot of people. You don’t have to be referred to take part, and there are other Wellbeing classes that are open to anyone in the community.
She said: “Everyone at ellenor is so helpful and the nurses are so lovely. It makes you want to keep fit and active into older age. Anyone who thinks they could benefit should come along and join in.”
The positive-thinking grandmother is just the sort of person the Heart Failure Pathway is designed to help. She first suffered a heart attack in 2004 and had a stent fitted.
She said:” After that I was fine for years, but during Covid I started having this raised blood pressure and feeling awful. I have also developed a problem with excessive heart beats.”