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'.

Monday, October 12, 2015

It Takes a Community...

School holidays have just finished here in Auckland, and we are now settling into the last mad dash of fast paced weeks leading into the holiday season and summer.  Normally when working with adults in rehabilitation or fitness settings the timing of the school holidays doesn't really have any impact on service delivery.  However, the lovely community centre where I hire space for my Parkinson's CE group runs a plethora of children's programs during the between term holidays, and my lovely little room is not available so we take a break.

Many of the people attending this group have been coming fairly regularly since last September and all but one -- who is moving out of town -- have signed up for the next term which starts this Friday.   Before we broke up at the end of the school term I surveyed them to find out what they were happy with, what parts of the program they enjoyed the most or found the most useful, what they didn't enjoy, what they struggled with, and what suggestions they have for future sessions.  I gave them the choice of anonymity so that they could be honest and open in their response.

I carefully listed out elements my carefully structured program for my clients to give feedback about in language that was clear and accessible (this is an incredibly intelligent bunch of people -- but that doesn't mean that they know or care what a task series or rhythmic intention is).  I listed things like learning to change position and to stand up fluently, seated exercises, arm and shoulder exercises, fine manipulation and handwriting, speech and facial expressions, walking and balancing activities, memory and concentration work, stretching, and I included the pre-program greeting round and the post program morning tea amongst my activity list.

I list these out because from my perspective each are so important and a lot of planning and thought goes into getting ready to lead a large Parkinson's group.  My clients were all happy with the program and with the balance of the activities and few had suggestions about what they wanted done differently.  They listed outcomes that included better balance and being able to get up from the chair easier or safer, or having less shoulder pain.  But when asked what the most important thing that they got out of the group was, not a single person listed an activity or something mobility related.  You guessed it - psychosocial outcomes were once again featured as the most important.

Here are some of the responses:

"Having Parkinson's feels more normal to me, I see that everybody is affected differently and I don't feel as strange in this group" said one person;

"I have more confidence in myself" said another.

"Realizing that exercise is more pleasant when done with other people" said VW;

"The way the others encourage me" said RH;

"Enjoyment of the group" stated BB, "Oh, and the laughing!"

TM wrote "companionship"; DS noted "fellowship"; JW agreed with one word, "friendship".

Two weeks later, I still get shivers reading these responses.  I feel so proud of this little micro-community, and of the positive and supportive environment that they provide for each other, which allows them to thrive and blossom despite having Parkinson's.  Two weeks later, and that really isn't a very long time, I realize that I miss them.  That I miss the community spirit of this wonderful group and their wives or husbands who often come along; That I miss the laughter, the fun, the games, and the fellowship, and that I'm glad that the school holidays are over and that I look forward to getting my dose of this wonderful community again this Friday morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment