Pound and Zumba aren’t just popular fitness classes among the younger set.
Residents at Killam Health Centre are also moving to the beat of these high-energy sessions introduced by Rehabilitation Assistant Kelby Erickson.
She began introducing a diverse range of activities about three years ago in a bid to keep fitness interesting for residents who participate in the likes of giant KerPlunk, soccer, scavenger hunts and different theme activities.
And they have fun doing it. The residents share laughs and encourage each other.
“I find that they participate more and I get different people who participate if it’s an activity where they don’t even know that they are exercising,” Kelby says.
Not only do the activities engage the residents, but each session is also adapted to meet every ability. And that’s appreciated by 72-year-old Art Collier, who moved into the centre over a year ago. Art has been blind in his right eye for 36 years and after a stroke, lost vision in his second, but he doesn’t let that slow him down.
“When they are showing everyone else how to do it, I can’t see what they are doing. When they explain it like how Kelby does, then I can keep up,” Art explains. “The one thing I like about Kelby, she shows me.”
Kelby says it’s important to find a fun way to keep residents active, happy and social.
“They could just sit in their room and do nothing but they choose to come out and get to know people,” she says, “If they come out and do one exercise or one weight, that’s good enough. They are still getting out of their room, coming to the program. They are participating to the best of their ability.”
The therapy program changes monthly. Residents also provide input, voicing ideas during their daily coffee meetings. A bingo-themed workout that includes multiple exercises is a favourite among the residents, says Kelby.
The innovative sessions are well known among family members, who will often stop by to peek into the room to see what activity is planned for that particular day.
“Anything getting their family member or their mom and dad involved is good, so they know they are not just sitting in their room. They are having fun here.”
In the future, Kelby hopes to run an aquafit class and is looking to find a way to involve children from the neighbouring public school in a fitness session with residents.
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