Last year, during Covid, the Rowville Manor Concentric Team had time to plan ahead. They thought hard about how they could engage and hold the attention of the dementia residents who were further along in their journey and developed some new and exciting activities for when they could return to in-person rehabilitation. 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.
Dementia residents tend to disengage as their sensory needs increase and their mobility and or cognition decreases. In some cases, this leads to families taking these residents off the rehab package as they can no longer see the benefits. As we know, people with dementia have difficulty following traditional exercise groups and understanding instructions and so, the Parachute Program was pioneered.
Exercise is disguised through a variety of games including boxing, basketball, volleyball and hitting balloons with foam noodles. The moderate to advanced dementia residents sit around in a circle and each holds onto a loop of a circular parachute. The mesh material makes it easy for a ball to be pushed around, making for some great team work.
Shortly after the Program started, staff could already see amazing results. Residents who were previously sleeping in tub or princess chairs were now attentive and engaged! One particular resident, a very quiet man with Parkinson’s disease, recognised the music and started to sing to the music. Another resident, who had had a mini stroke and relied on his right hand, started to use his left hand. The residents thoroughly enjoyed these activities as you can see from the smiles and expressions on their faces.
The Program has become so popular that it is moving to a bigger space to enable more residents to be included. As well, the Concentric staff have been upskilling the Lifestyle Program staff so that they too can include and share these skills and activities with other residents.
Thank you to the Concentric Team and their directors for creating a place where their clinicians can flourish and be creative with activities. Special thanks to Emily and Sarah who supported their Occupational Therapists through all the chaos and loud music whenever Parachutes took over the clinic.
If you would like to know more about the rehabilitation programs in our Rowville Manor 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.