Led by Encara physiotherapist Vijayata, one of the big revelations in not only improving quality of life, but having fun, has been the recent exercise program at St Vincent’s Care Carseldine in Brisbane.
“There was a resident who had difficulty moving,” says Vijay. “All he used to do was sit in a chair because he had less confidence to go out of the room and also had an increased fear of falls.”
“But now he's able to mobilize as well. He's going out for meals and interacting and doing other activities, going to staff meetings.”
“Most of the residents need some form of a physio for sure because they're not as active as they used to be in their earlier life."
Residents have the option to do exercises seated to join in on the fun
"So, for resident who are able to walk by themselves like, or with minimum assistance, one staff assistance or supervision, they want to maintain it for as long as possible in their life. So, you know, they can do and feel confident and independent. They can maintain their independence for as long as you know possible,” says Vijay.
“And then for the resident who are unable, and they're not able to mobilize by themselves and need more staff assistance for them, we would do some passive exercises like, you know, to maintain their joint range and to help them with pain, any sort of pain, like joint pain, lot of pain in like, you know, elderly people with arthritis, rheumatoid and joint stiffness.”
“So, we try to reduce those pain and add some form of treatment.”
The beauty of the programs is that they are all exactly what residents want and need so it never has to feel like a chore or a purely clinical routine.“It's more individual goals. So, we identify what residents would actually need,” says Vijay.
“It's not like, you know, we are not making a set of exercise program that everyone has to do.”
It's because these exercise programs are tailored to what residents want and need that they’re able to mix it up and add new things in that aren’t just exercises. As Vijay explains, there’s games, quizzes and music therapy as well. It’s because of this variety that families are all on board as well.
Residents with walkers can join in standing or seated too!
“We get very good feedback from family,” says Vijay.“We have family members sit and they ask, “Do you want me to go?” No! You, you are more than welcome to stay.”
“They feel more happy when they see there's some form of exercises happening, and their mom or dad are really enjoying it. You know, it's, it's not heavy or painful exercises - not like that. It's very enjoyable exercises and it's more suitable to what residents want.”
For Vijay and the team at Encara, it’s resident goals first, exercise program second and we couldn’t be happier with the outcomes that the team are seeing.
If you’re around the next time the team from Encara are starting an exercise session, why not stay to watch?
You might learn something for yourself, or better yet, you might be invited to join!
By Jesse Gramenz
Jesse has been working in the St Vincent’s marketing team for over two years. With a grandma who recently passed away in aged care, Jesse cares about making something as daunting as aged care a little easier for families and residents alike. He loves writing, movies and history