Member Profiles




EMAA Leaders Cathy Megson-McAllister & Pam McDonald

EMAA Leaders Rae Watson & Bruce Muhlhan

EMAA Trainer Stephanie Henderson

EMAA Leader Betty Nobes

EMAA Leader Gail Kurtz


Do you have a story to share?

We would love to hear from you and how you are contributing to a more Active Australia - and you don't have to be an EMAA Leader, we know that many of our members are doing other things to promote Active Ageing in their workplaces and communities. Just let us know - email or phone 08 8362 5599.


Corporate Members

Southern Cross Care SA & NT

Southern Cross Care was established as a not-for-profit organisation in 1968. Our focus has always been on helping people just like you to age healthily, maintain the independence you value, stay informed, and, vitally, keep connected with family and friends.

Since then, we've developed what we do to respond to the changing requirements of communities across South Australia and the Northern Territory. But while the services we provide continue to evolve, our core values of care, communication, creativity and teamwork have stayed the same. They're the guiding principles that shape how we think and what we deliver, because we're passionate that our focus is on meeting your needs and exceeding your expectations.

Our comprehensive range of health & wellness and at-home services, our beautifully appointed retirement properties, and our high quality residential care will keep you connected to the life you love and provide you with the support you deserve.

Address; 151 Greenhill Road, Parkside, South Australia 5063
Postal; PO Box 155, Glen Osmond SA 5064
Telephone South Australia 1800 180 781



Young at Hearts Club - Macclesfield

EMAA® LeaPam Cathy Web Smallders Cathy Megson-McAllister and Pam McDonald run a weekly exercise class in the Macclesfield Community Hall. Cathy introduced the classes in 2001 and regularly engages 25 to 35 community members in her fun, weekly sessions. She has partnered with Pam to ensure a safe ratio of leaders and participants. Why do they do it? "We do it because we love it" both women declare. Two other trained EMAA® leaders, Helen Randell and Suzanne Opitz, also help out with participants who need one on one help with the exercises.

Classes include strengthening and light weight exercises as well as choreographed exercise routines that focus on the entire body. Participants' ages range from 51 to 91 and while it is focussed on exercise and fitness, the social catch-up is a vital part of the sessions.

Members of the Young at Hearts Club say:Young At Hearts Club Web Small
Lew Dowsett, who is 91 years old, "I know a lot of people, I want to stay mobile and the social activity keeps me sane and connected."
Pauline started due to "Doctor's recommendation and it is definitely helping. I can now raise my arms above my head and I love it. I loved it so much my husband decided to come along. Now we both do the exercise class and the Friday dance club."
"We're fighting gravity. We enjoy the exercises and the morning social activity."
"Need the exercise, get great motivation, and created a sense of community."
A great example of EMAA® training put in to action in a fun and beneficial community program that educates participants on keeping fit and healthy.

Laughter Yoga and EMAA

Rae Watson and Bruce Muhlhan became Easy Moves for Active Ageing (EMAA)  instructors in 2008 to complement and enhance their activities as Fitness Instructors, which they undertook in their semi-retirement.  They have utilised the EMAA guidelines in community classes in Whyalla and many older people have attended.  Last year they trained as Laughter Yoga leaders.  Laughter Yoga is a unique activity that originated in India in 1995 and it combines playful laughter exercises with gentle yogic deep breathing.  It is a form of mild physical exericse that is not based on jokes, humour or comedy.  So it is laughing as an exercise without reason and many people have found that this simple technique can have a very positive impact on their quality of life.

This is also a wonderful activity for those with some cognitive impairment, as they don’t have to “get” any jokes.  They just have to go through the motions of the laughter exercises, which mostly are simple pantomines of common or daily activities, with laughter attached.  Actively participating in the laughter exercises has the potential to reduce agitation, anxiety and stress, which has been demonstrated in aged care facilities in different parts of the world.  Fake laughter or real laughter works equally well because it has been scientifically established that the body does not know the difference between the two and feel good hormones, such as endorphins, are released either way.  This can help reduce depression and enhance the mood of the elderly.

In their community classes, Rae and Bruce were delighted to discover the synergy between the EMAA® guidelines and the laughter exercises.  They found that the structured methodology of Laughter Yoga provides a perfect platform to include exercises that are consistent with the EMAA® guidelines and precautions.  In addition, the laughter exercises invariably help to create a positive social dynamic within the participating group.  Subsequently Rae and Bruce have started two Laughter Clubs in Whyalla.  The Laughter Club of Whyalla has elderly attending and the Joan Gibbons Neighbourhood Centre Laughter Club, which is under the umbrella of Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide and is attended mostly by people needing support with mental health issues.  

Following are a couple of examples of laughter exercises that embrace EMAA® principles.  Bavarian Laughter Dance (5th Edition EMAA Manual, p. 103, Knee Extension Sitting) – extend one leg, hold briefly, slap thigh to a rhythm and laugh, then swap legs.  Whipped Cream Pie Laughter (p. 113, B, Reaching/Recover) – lean to one side, pick up an imaginary pie, throw it at someone on the other side and laugh, then swap sides.   Option: this laughter exercise can be done standing for those with good core strength and balance.

The possibilities are endless in relation to adapting laughter exercises to the EMAA® program of Warm up/Flexibility, Strengthening and Balance exercises, as well as adhering to the principles of the Dose Response and Progression in accordance with medical guidance, as required.  The laughter exercises are interspersed with gentle deep breathing to provide variation to the exercises and also to enhance Chest Expansion (p. 79).  Examples are Shoulder Elevation (p. 83, G)  - lift shoulders, inhale, smile; lower shoulders, exhale, relax and Shoulder Rotations (p. 100) - open window, inhale, smile; close window, exhale, relax.

Laughter YogaRecently the couple were invited by Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide Inc. Multicultural Services Whyalla - Ethnic Link Services, Coordinator Teresa Nowak to run a laughter session, which can be seen in the photograph.  This activity is very consistent with the aims of the service which is to help frail older people from diverse language and cultural backgrounds maintain their independence and come together in groups for social interaction and healthy activities.  Laughter Yoga is safe, fun, easy to practise and can be adapted to most levels of physical fitness and potentially has many health benefits, specially for the elderly.  Contact Bruce or Rae if you would like more information about Laughter Yoga on 0400 454 620 or email 


EMAA Trainer Stephanie Henderson competes in Master's Dragon Boat Racing

Our EMAA trainer Stephanie Henderson is based in regional NSW, and competed recently in the Pan Pacific Masters Games, held on the Gold Coast from 3-11 November. It's good to know that our trainers don't just promote the message of 'active, any age, anywhere' through talking and teaching, but get out there and get involved! This report from Stephanie on her team's achievements:

"The Pan Pacs Masters games are "the world's largest biennial master's games". This year over 12,000 sports men and women attended, competing in over 39 sports.  Participants travelled from every state and territory, and over 20 countries.

Sports have varying age brackets. Dragon Boating has Masters 40+,  Grand Masters 50+, and Great Grand Masters 60+.  Some members also compete as Cancer survivors. Our team this year won one Gold, and one Silver and two Bronze. Our Grand Masters women earned Silver, our All Cancer survivors earned Bronze, and our Great Grand Dragons earned Gold. I managed to compete in a 500 metre grand final!

Dragon Boat TeamAll this was an amazing achievement for a team scrounged from a number of regional teams, who have paddled at most three times together as a team. Especially since we were competing against established teams selected from within large competitive clubs!!

Yes, even the frailest of us can become some sort of athlete! Very happy Great Grand Dragons!! [in photo]. "You don't stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing". Motto of "Play it! Live it! Love it!" was so true."

Thanks for sharing this story, Stephanie, and well done!


EMAA Leader Betty Nobes keeping Yorke Peninsula in shape!


Betty NobesThere are many outstanding EMAA Leaders in the community, doing wonderful work in promoting physical activity and its associated health and social benefits. Here we profile volunteer Betty Nobes from Marion Bay, one of our many dedicated regional leaders.

With the support of Minlaton Community Health Service, Betty first completed EMAA training about 4 years ago (at age 69!), followed by our Tai Chi Chair training.

Starting with one group in Marion Bay, Betty took over another group in Warooka, travelling over 100km to take the two classes each Monday. Each class has 12 regular attendees, who have been attracted by word of mouth, as the groups’ enthusiasm spreads amongst their friends.

The importance of the social aspect of the classes is reflected in comments to Betty from participants, such as “the face muscles never have time to get slack” and “I always feel so good after”.

Following the last exercise session for the year, which is attended by both groups, they all move on to the local tavern for lunch. In 2011, Betty had 23 ladies turn up for the event, a real tribute to her commitment and professionalism as a leader.

Betty Nobes Marion Bay groupBetty incorporates Tai Chi into her EMAA® classes to provide variety and extra challenges. In addition to the mixed classes, Betty has recently started a Tai Chi class in Yorketown at the request of the Community Health Service, which will no doubt be a great success as well.

To finish with Betty’s own words: “I have had so much enjoyment in running these classes and I have always found that you get so much more back, than you ever give when you are a volunteer.”

 Betty Nobes Warooka group





EMAA Leader recognised as Best Local Volunteer.

Congratulations to Gail Kurtz on her recent award as ‘Best Local Volunteer’ for her work with running exercise classes for older adults through Gawler Care and Share Group.

Gail Kurtz photoGail takes her dog Chloe along to five ‘Move It or Lose It’ classes a week, combining the benefits of physical activity with the benefits of patting a pet. This photo of Gail with Chloe is reproduced with permission of Bunyip Press.

Gail has been an EMAA leader for many years and credits her success to being “an instructor taught by the best”, naming recently retired EMAA trainer Pauline Brooks as her inspiration. Pauline remembers Gail well too, describing her as “an inspiring ball of uninhibited love and energy” and was thrilled to hear the news.

The award came as a surprise to Gail, who hadn’t expected or looked for any recognition, and takes the classes for the sheer enjoyment of it, and the tremendous personal satisfaction that comes from bringing a smile to other’s faces. As Gail says, she gets back as much from the class participants as she gives—and she certainly gives a lot!

Gail attended an Update course recently, and brought along some equipment she uses in classes to share her ideas with others. This included squishy (and slippery) toys to challenge finger mobility and hand coordination—as well as giving a great deal of exercise to the facial muscles, as it was hilarious trying to hold onto them!