Waxing physically and philosically...

After literally years of deliberation, and as a result of some delicate and some less delicate prodding, this blog is my effort to organize - to bring together - my thoughts about my work as a conductor and as a personal trainer, to rant and rave as necessary, to celebrate the little things and the larger moments of brilliance, and to share some conductive magic and life lessons gained through 'waxing physically and philosophically'.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Conducting "Enable Me"

The Phys. Ed. Studio is the name of the personal training studio that AR, my partner in crime (as well as in business and in life) and I plan to open when the time is right.  It will house a fully accessible studio suitable for training people with disabilities and their able-bodied counterparts and a purpose built Conductive Education classroom.  Until we are actually able to open the doors to the studio it will exist in our dreams and goals, and here in cyberspace in the form of a blog about our passion, life lessons, and work.  Until then we both work as personal trainers out in the community at large and in local gyms.

Over the past several months my personal trainer alter ego has had the chance to work as the personal trainer / conductor on an amazing pilot project run by Community Care Northern Beaches called Enable Me.  This is a government funded research project looking at whether pro-active, preventative allied health and exercise can help elderly people remain living independently in their homes for longer, improve their function and confidence on activities of daily living, and can impact their overall health and wellbeing.  Self motivated senior citizens who meet the specified criteria receive 9 weeks of personally tailored, fully funded therapy and exercise in their home.  Interviews carried out by a case manager before each person starts and after they have finished the program provide detailed information from the individual client's perspective on their progress towards self identified goals and most importantly on their sense of well being and quality of life in order to ascertain whether the intervention has been effective.

Normally I am very reluctant to participate in research projects, and when I have done so it was under duress.    However, this project appeals to me for a number of reasons.  For one, it is not seeking to determine the efficacy of Conductive Education.  Also, it comes from service providers recognizing a population trend and trying to pro-actively address a gap in service provision.  And most importantly to me,  I was invited into the project as a personal trainer because of the combined skill sets I have as a conductor and  personal trainer.  So far, it has been amazing.  I have been given a licence to work conductively with a 'non-motor disabled population'.  With every participant in every interaction I have to pick, choose, and combine both professional disciplines -- adapting exercises to make them suitable to this population, teaching functional mobility and specific task solutions, finding the why and the how so that the what is worth doing.

And I get to hang out with these awesome people in their 70's, 80's, and even 90's -- I don't know, maybe it is because I'm so far from home, or because my grandparents aren't around anymore, or because I'm an old soul but I love the eccentricities, the words of wisdom and words of a completely different nature, the stories of days gone by.  I hope when I'm in my 80's I can bear the idea of some personal trainer with dumbbells and  exercise tubing showing up at my door a few times a week for exercise.  My time is appreciated and I am rewarded in so many ways.  I am grateful that I am one of the lucky few people in the world who gets to make a living doing something that I love and that every day something happens at work that thrills or inspires me.

My words of wisdom today come from Mrs.BP.  Last week, while walking through her retirement village, I was treated to a running commentary on everybody who passed by.  We were taking the scenic back route so as not to pass by the reception lounge where a farewell was being held for a retiring manager.  As Mrs.BP explained, she was lots of things, but definitely not a hypocrite, and she didn't like this manager and had expressed this to other people, so absolutely would not be going to the farewell for nibblies and farewell drinks.  I asked why she didn't like this manager -- and Mrs.BP said that it was because at the age of 86 she only had time for people who made her happy, not people who made her upset.  She went on to say that some people were so draining with their complaints and their 'poor-little old-me-itis', while others were so uplifting and always had a pleasantry to exchange, and that in fact she could tell by the look on someone's face and the way they were standing whether it was was in fact a good idea at all to stop and chat or to just pass by and nod.

"Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it."
                                                                                                                   ~Fyodor Dostoevsky

1 comment:

  1. To see an overview of the Enable Me project prepared by Kerrie O'Sullivan from Community Care Northern Beaches for a recent conference, please click here