My Senior Moment

Working in aged care wasn’t at the top of my ‘places I’d like to work’ list after graduating. Admittedly, it anchored that list, squashed by jobs I deemed more desirable. My peers held the same view with most moving into private practice or the hospital system after university.

Assumptions held me back from entering the aged care arena. I perceived that the work would be boring and mundane and development opportunities limited. Also, I questioned, ‘Would I be making a difference?’

When a client returned to their sport or a patient was safely discharged from the hospital, I could see the impact I was making. But do equivalent signs of progress exist in aged care? After a few years working in the private practice setting, I moved into aged care to answer this question myself.

Quickly it became clear that many of my presumptions about the field were unfounded. On my first day on the job, I was surprised at the similarities an aged care centre shared with a hospital. The rooms had the same features, nurse’s stations could be found on each corner and meal carts were expertly manoeuvred throughout.

There were other similarities too:

  • Residents faced many of the same issues that hospital patients dealt with like weakened immune systems and an inability to move about as freely as they’d like.
  • I worked as part of a multidisciplinary team of therapy assistants, nurses and aids, much like a hospital.

 

Soon, I was building a hospital-like skill set at a time when hospital jobs were scarce. I learned about mobility assessments: how to carry them out on an elderly person and the importance of the assessment in guiding staff.

Violet, the experienced physiotherapist I worked along side conducted the manual handling training of new staff. ‘My presentation skills have improved immensely. Nearly every week I’m delivering manual handling training and it has allowed me to hone my ability to speak in front of an audience,’ she said. My communication improved too as I liaised with staff, talked with the elderly and discussed their health with family. I became more assertive but also empathetic and tactful. It’s a challenging role – balancing the demands of management, the resident and the concerns of loved ones. The experience was arming me with the tools and a mentality to succeed in a hospital role.

Opportunities in aged care shouldn’t be underestimated as a pathway to grow as a physiotherapist. Australia’s population is ageing and residential care will continue to grow and take more responsibility from the overburdened hospital system.

Demand for physiotherapists will increase and, as the industry matures, there will be developments in the way aged healthcare is approached. You and I will be at the forefront of these changes as research and funding increases. ‘There will be a movement away from the current life maintenance model to a system that promotes improving quality of life,’ said Violet. The focus will be developing residents’ strength and conditioning, instead of pain management alone.

Boost your mental power with yoga

Yoga has the ability to fight stress, increase flexibility and improve self-awareness. Better Yoga wants you to experience these benefits by offering a 30-day money back trial – plus a free yoga mat.

The ultimate goal of yoga

Yoga means ‘to unify’ and is an ancient exercise borne out of India. The practice is centred on binding the body with the mind. As yoga expert David Surrenda points out, it is beyond physical exercise.

By combining challenging postures with awareness of where the body is in space, a state of mindfulness is developed. The importance of being present blocks worrying about the future and regretting the past.

Yoga versus Pilates

Both practices have their merits though yoga and Pilates are distinct from one another. Pilates is a physical practice that aims to strengthen the core. But yoga trains the mind and body together through postures, stances and movements.

Yoga and the mind

It might seem odd that a form of exercise could benefit the mind but research supports this. While yoga improves the physical being, it’s in its ability to positively affect the brain that separates it from most forms of physical exercise.

Abigail Wise notes some of the mental benefits to include:

  • Fighting stress and lowering anxiety – Studies have shown yoga decreases the inflammatory response of the immune system combating illnesses like depression.
  • Improved brain function – Focus and information retention are enhanced.
  • Increased happiness – By living in the moment, the mind is not given the chance to dwell or grow anxious but instead focus on the present moment.

Yoga and the body

There are physical rewards to be gained from a regular yoga practice too, according to Timothy McCall:

  • Improved flexibility – Becoming ‘stretchy’ is commonly linked with yoga – we’ve all seen yogis with the ability to contort their bodies like Gumby. But what’s less well-known is that pliable muscles mean less pain. Achieving a balanced muscle length restores alignment reducing aches and lessening the chance of injury.
  • Improved joint health – Everyday movement is limited but yoga practice demands movement through a full range of motion. Joints thrive on movement as they are supplied with fresh nutrients.
  • Increased strength – The challenging stances and movements build functional strength. As flexibility improves, the yoga postures force muscles to adapt and become strong in the newly unlocked range of movement.

Yoga for life

Yoga is a rewarding lifelong practice with the benefits increasing with age. At Better Yoga Life, we want to help you begin your yoga journey with a 30-day money back trial – you’ll receive a free yoga mat too.

To get started contact or for more details contact Louise King (L.King@betteryogalife.com.au or 0435 078 355).

References

McCall, T (2007), ’38 Health Benefits of Yoga’, Yoga Journal, viewed 24 February 2017, http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit/

Old Fire Station Backpackers (2016) Yoga Classes, online image, viewed 25 February 2017, http://oldfirestation.com.au/event/yoga-classes/

Surrenda, D (2012), ‘The Purpose of Yoga’, The New York Times, viewed 24 February 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/12/is-yoga-for-narcissists/the-purpose-of-yoga

Wise, A (2015), ‘How Yoga Helps to Keep Your Brain Healthy’, Real Simple, viewed 24 February 2017, http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/stretching-yoga/yoga-brain

 

Playground Update – Yardley Park and Barnes Park

A sample of my work from my Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing

Summary

The aim of this report was to; investigate problems with existing playground equipment at Yardley Park and Barnes Park, to determine what equipment the community wants when the parks’ are upgraded, and to ensure the new equipment complies with Australian standards.

Results indicate the main problems are; exposed nails, rusty equipment and slippery surfaces. The community want; a slide, monkey bars and a non-slip surface when the facilities are upgraded.

It is recommended that Green Ponds Council upgrade the playgrounds to include a slide, monkey bars and non-slip surface. To comply with Australian standards; equipment should be made of plastic, bolts must be sealed with a cap, and there should be non-slip playing surfaces.

Reasons for research

The research was warranted due to; recent injuries to children playing on the equipment, a growing number of complaints from locals, negative press coverage, poor condition of the current equipment, and lack of compliance with Australian standards.

Research methods

Research included:

  • Observation and photographing of the playgrounds for analysis and records
  • Review of the playground equipment guidelines on the Australian Standards website
  • Interviewing locals to get their perspective on problems with equipment and what equipment they’d like when the parks’ are upgraded
  • Questionnaires to collect a larger data sample from the wider community.

No personal information was collected; interviews and questionnaires were voluntary and anonymous. Stan Dards, an expert in playground equipment guidelines, was subcontracted to conduct research on the Australian Standards website.

20 phone interviews were carried out while 200 questionnaires were distributed in the mail with a prepaid return envelope.

Results

There was a 90% response rate to the questionnaire – a breakdown of the responses is listed in Tables 1 and 2.

From the results; exposed nails, rusted equipment and slippery playground surfaces were considered the main problems. The community requests; a slide, monkey bars and non-slip surfaces, when the parks are upgraded.

Table 1

Main equipment problem %
Exposed nails 35
Rusted equipment 30
Unstable flying fox 5
Slippery playground surfaces 25
Faded swing seats 5

Table 2

Desired equipment %
Slide 30
Monkey bars 30
Sandpit 5
Climbing wall 5
Non-slip surfaces 30

Review of the Australian standards revealed; equipment needs to be made from plastic, bolts must be sealed with a cap, and there should be non-slip playing surfaces, to comply with regulations.

Conclusions

An upgrade of equipment at Yardley Park and Barnes Park is required as the current setup is unsafe and fails to meet Australian standards. Locals agreed that the most pressing problems were; exposed nails, rusted equipment and slippery playground surfaces, and would like to see a slide, monkey bars and non-slip surfaces when the parks are refurbished.

Recommendations

It is recommended that Green Ponds Council:

  • Remove all exposed nails and rusted equipment
  • Replace the slippery playing surfaces with a non-slip surface
  • Cover bolts with a cap
  • Include a slide and monkey bars when upgrading the parks’
  • Ensure all equipment is made from plastic

Further research is required to:

  • Select equipment which is sustainable and environmentally friendly
  • Determine ways to increase the longevity of the upgraded playgrounds, such as a shade sail cover