One of the phrases I often repeat in Chair Chi sessions for residents in aged care is ‘don’t try to keep up – just keep on’.
I’ve found this eases the pressure to try and keep up with other residents and it helps them to perform at their own pace and physical capabilities.
Injuries can occur if residents try and keep up when they are unable to do so.
Sometimes residents will try anyway, so if I see any signs of discomfort I’ll stop them from doing the activity and repeat the phrase ‘don’t try and keep up – just keep on’.
I do have one resident who, regardless of what’s said, will try an activity she can’t do even though it causes her pain.
When that occurs I always say to her before the activity, ‘Now, Sue, don’t raise your arms above your shoulders – keep them lower’. And I’ll repeat that statement before every repetition of the exercise.
I suppose it’s human nature to try and keep up, but as a teacher of Chair Chi I have to ensure residents just keep on – and celebrate that as an achievement.
And celebrating their achievement is what I do at the end of each session!