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Totem Tennis

Playing Totem Tennis at 83 with Dementia

If you were to request a game of Totem Tennis with 83 year old Rowvillle Manor Resident Pat, be warned, you could be caught off guard!  Pat has become quite the Totem Tennis player, and was recently heard to say, “this is too easy, it’s ridiculous, there must be something else to it!”  This is no mean feat because Pat suffers from moderate Dementia, but she is physically quite fit.

Pat started her rehabilitation program with Concentric after moving to the new state of the art Rowville Aged Care Facility, from the previous Amaroo Gardens home, in March 2020.  Concentric are contracted to Homestyle Aged Care and provide award winning rehabilitation programs tailored to suit our residents needs, in our on-site specially designed gym.

The packages are designed to achieve outcomes such as increased social participation, increased strength, mobility and balance, and most importantly the program is proven to decrease a person’s functional decline.

Pat was quite set in her routines and didn’t attend the Lifestyle Program because of the sensory overload for her.  The noise, lights and multiple conversations going at once, were too much for her to process and made it difficult to focus on anything in particular.  All this made her anxious, restless and uncomfortable.  The Concentric staff set about building a rapport with Pat, building trust with her by beginning with exercises in her room, helping her regain some strength as she suffered from debilitating back pain.

The Concentric staff then started taking Pat out for walks, routine walks that she could recall and manage herself later on.  After 2 months Pat integrated into the group exercise program and the team were able to introduce massage for her as well.

Pat’s exercise program progressed.  She started lifting 2 kilos weights!  Most people her age can only manage ½ kilo weights.  Pat also took on the treadmill gradually increasing the incline, and in January 2021, Pat started riding a stationary bike.  Whilst on the bike she would reminisce about old times, like how she used to ride a bike to school.  The Australian Open Tennis was on at the time, and this evoked conversations around how much Pat used to enjoy playing and watching the tennis.  This gave the Concentric staff an idea!  They purchased a totem tennis pole and Pat helped staff to put the pole together, by reading and directing with the instructions.  There began Pat’s rekindling of her enjoyment with a tennis ball, of sorts.

Pat used to sit in her room and knit all day and wouldn’t engage with anyone or anything.  Recently she was seen knitting on a swisse ball bouncing up and down!  Her family love her new lease on life, she has no more back pain and is engaged in activities and having fun again.  She is now enjoying playing Bingo with other residents and has even started doing Pilates as part of her rehab sessions.

Congratulations Pat on such a great achievement!  Thanks to the wonderful staff at Concentric Rowville for your dedication, care, encouragement and support you give to our residents in the rehab program.

If you would like to know more about rehabilitation programs in our Rowville home or further information about short-term or long-term accommodation in one of our homes, you can phone us on (03) 9559 0400 or contact us here.


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