PEOPLE attending a Healthy Ageing Day at Lismore's Carroll Centre today got a special afternoon treat when Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek dropped in for a visit.
She was in the region to launch North Coast NSW Medicare Local and inspect health facilities.
Clients from the Carroll Centre, a day therapy unit, spent the morning listening to a talk on keeping the mind active followed by a presentation on Lismore City Council's Move2Change program, which helps keep the body active.
Launched in June with a $566,000 Federal Government Healthy Communities grant, Move2Change offers a variety of low-cost exercise and nutrition programs, suitable for people over 55.
Healthy Communities Coordinator Tarryn Corlet said the Move2Change nutrition and exercise demonstrations were a hit with the Carroll Centre's clientele.
"It was pretty funny actually - they were giggling and laughing and throwing balls at each other," Ms Corlet said.
"I think we definitely got some new members today. The great thing about Move2Change is that after rehab it's a perfect transition for anyone who's had an injury or stroke.
"It's less intense than rehab but it keeps people moving when they go out into the world."
Carroll Centre physiotherapist Patricia Tan agreed that Move2Change was excellent for older people and said while the Healthy Ageing Day was planned months ago, the impromptu visit by the Health Minister certainly added to the excitement for clients.
"Here at the Carroll Centre people are pushed to exercise in a group but when they get home their mobility can suffer because they are not motivated to get out an exercise on their own," Ms Tan explained.
"The Move2Change program is fantastic - it provides the motivation they need to stay active and mobile post-rehab."
Violet Cook, 79, thought the demonstrations were "wonderful".
"I'd love to do all those exercises, they'd be really good for me - I just have to check it is okay with my doctor first," she said.
Move2Change classes are just a gold coin for anyone who is unemployed, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, from a non-English speaking background, over 55, a refugee, living with a disability, or a carer.
All classes are run through the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre.
For more information or to sign up for Move2Change, phone 6625 5377.