Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Jean Wins Gold... in Sofa-Cycling!

The Olympic Games - Inspiring Elderly to Exercise

OK, so I arrived at the lovely Mrs Jean Jellybean's home today where I found her flush-cheeked on the sofa... pedalling flat out on one of these wondrous little beauties:

Regular physical activity for Pensioners
(Only true athletes keep their pantyhose on)

In normal life, 88 year old Jean is one of those sprightly 'do-gooder' ladies that you see rushing about in the community. Volunteering at the library, visiting the elderly in hospital and helping out with the Meals on Wheels delivery... Jean spends most of her days zipping about helping OTHER people. People who are 'poor souls' that don't have anyone else to help them.

And because I can, Dollie”.

BUT... after recently undergoing hip and knee replacement surgery (both on the left side), Jean has been out of action for several months being stuck in rehab and recovery mode.  Trapped at home waiting for her body to heal, Jean has been driven slowly mad with boredom and with what she says is far too much 'sitting about'.

And I'm getting FAT!”

Finally now in the final stretches of convalescence, Jean has officially been given the green light by her Physiotherapist to start some light exercise and build up the strength in her newly renovated leg.  And thanks to the super-efficient Physio nurse organising her the loan of a portable mini pedal device, Jean is able to set herself up beautifully in the comfort of her own lounge room.  She gets to whirrrr away on her fab new contraption to her heart's content (and some mornings, still with her nightie on!)

Are you sure you're not overdoing it, Jean?  Too much, too soon? You don't want to push things and end up setting yourself back another month.”

No such.... thing... as over...doing it... Dollie!”

Pedal... pedal...pedal...

<Puff....Puff... PUFF>

I've been... watching... the Olympics... on the telly. It's been....very.... in-spi....ra-tional!”

Blow it, why shouldn't she push it?!   I had to agree. Jean was a healthy old bird after all – aside from her recent leg issue, but that was coming right.   Her determination was totally admirable.

Good for you, Jean Jellybean – GO HARD OR GO HOME!

In fact, being the amazingly conscientious carer that I am, I always try and encourage my elderly clients to move about and do as much for themselves as they can. The new buzz-word in Aged-Care circles at the moment is 'Active Ageing' and quite honestly, it's words to live by if my Beloveds intend on living out their Golden years in their own home.

A little exercise can go such a long way it has to be said.  As 84 year old Mrs Barbara Breastroke, another of my more robust clients, likes to remind me as she tootles off to her twice-weekly aqua-aerobics class:

We either move - or we lose it, Dollie!”

Exercise important for Elderly
Barb 'moving it'!

Thankfully, physical activity doesn't have to be quite the intensity of spirited water sport to be considered exercise for an older adult.  A mere stroll to the local shops, a lap of the garden or even to the letterbox once or twice a day can be plenty for a frail or unsteady Senior to keep the blood pumping and energy levels topped-up.

Being that smidge stronger, too, can do wonders to prevent those beastly falls - most important when you're living at home alone.  Or, failing that... it can drastically lessen the recovery time (and complications) after having one.

Because when Nana has good muscle strength, more energy and fabulous circulation – Nana has POWER!

Not to mention it can put her in a much better mood!  No more sitting round with a rug over her knee watching the days tick by.  Instead she is able to remain more independent and can continue with the lifestyle, interests and social interaction she has always partaken of.  She can attend her Bridge club with friends (sherry anyone?), take up French cookery classes if she fancies and look after her grandchildren every now again.

 – If she has time to, that is!

On Tuesdays I visit the very nimble 86 year old Mr Jim Kim and even though his 'Engrish' is limited, I can tell he gets quite excited to see me. I always find him outside when I arrive, under the clothesline doing his Tai-Chi.   And it's so cool to watch!  So if I can, I try and get there a little earlier so I can see him finish off.  

(Which of course makes him feel extra clever and pleased that I am so impressed.)

Tai-Chi is all about timing and concentration, if you didn't know. Which is why the beautifully symbiotic routine of mine and Jim's is not complete until Jim does one last 'grasp-sparrow-tail' (left)... then 'grasp-sparrow-tail' (right)... while I wait and admire from the sidelines.

Only then does he call out and acknowledge me.

Hurroo, Dorree!”

Then off we go inside where Jim prepares us a nice pot of green tea and I haul the vacuum cleaner out.

Now to the un-trained eye, one could scoff and argue that if Mr Kim can manage Tai-Chi so easily (and spectacularly), then why can't Mr Kim do his own bloody vacuuming?  The answer to that my friends, is simple.  If Mr Kim doesn't have to exert himself doing strenuous housework (and possibly use up his last bits of strength for the day) – then Mr Kim is able to do what he loves instead.

And that makes Mr Kim happy.

Old Chinese proverb say: A happy Pensioner stays at home longer than an unhappy one!


But I think Jean Jellybean, puffing her lungs out as she races off into the imaginary distance on her sofa bike, sums it up best:

I'm going... for gold here... Dolllie!  Reckon... if I keep this up... I could just about...give that Usain Bolt lad...a bloody good... RUN FOR HIS MONEY!"


Old People and Exercise

Jean & Usain - GETTING PHYSICAL !!!



  1. Couldnt agree more dollie - we've gotta keep using it! Somehow! Very well spotted
    Dottie x

  2. More and more I'm telling my clients: "Whatever you're doing - KEEP DOING IT!" Which is a good sign I think. Thanks for stopping by, Dottie. Hope you manage to 'put some physical' into your day today (with or without your pantyhose on!) Cheers Dollie