Staying Active in Older Age

Improving the physical and mental health of older people is at the heart of the government’s policy for management of the nation’s health1. Central to this policy is the prevention of falls; rehabilitation of strokes; and better support for mental health2.

How TMW can make a difference

Studies in osteoarthritis have shown that Tai Chi movements result in improved physical wellbeing and quality of life3. Based on a simplified version of Tai Chi, TMW offers a gentle movement-based approach that can be used to help older people to stay active – supporting improved core stability and proprioception; increased body awareness and vigilance; as well as improved balance. TMW has also been applied in helping both brain injury and stroke rehabilitation4.

Founded on evidence-based research, the TMW programme has been developed by Richard Farmer, a Tai Chi Master and Dr David Quinn, a Clinical Health Psychologist. Dr Quinn has worked with Kaiser Perminante in the USA and has established LTC management programmes in Herefordshire for a range of health conditions.

One student’s story

As Tai Chi teachers, the benefits of TMW for older people have been proven to us again and again. One example is the story of one of our elderly students. Beginning TMW at the age of 80, our student continued to use the sequence until she died at the age of 97. She practised the sequence every day because it helped her stay flexible, active and stimulated mentally.

As she eventually became frail and unable to stand, she continued to do the sequence sitting, sometimes even in her bed. This not only kept her stimulated, but helped her circulation and general wellbeing right up to the end of her long life.

  1. Meeting the Milestones NSF, 2002
  2. NSF For older People, 2001
  3. Lee at al, 2009
  4. Gemmell et al, 2006; Blake et at 2009