From Jenn McDonald
Since the beginning of May, we have had an average of 30-60 participants join our virtual classes each day. Due to increasing demand, on June 15th we began to offer two virtual classes per day, Monday through Friday, with clients now having the ability to choose their desired length of class and intensity level. At 9:15am is a 1-hour moderate-high intensity class, and at 10:45am is a 45-minute, lower intensity class with more seated exercises. Using Zoom, we are able to break participants into smaller group sizes, each with their own Gentle Exercise Facilitator and Exercise Team co-host, thus keeping our class sizes smaller and easier to monitor.
Throughout this process, we have been pleasantly surprised at the outreach we have had, overcoming some of the barriers to joining classes we have traditionally experienced:
- More spouses of participants are joining in with classes. One participant’s spouse said he would never join her in-person classes as there are far fewer men who go to class, but being at home there is simply no excuse now!
- Participants are joining more often. Having the convenience of being able to join from home, participants attend more often during the week (2-4 classes) than they would have if travelling to classes in-person (1-2 classes).
- Clients who face transportation barriers can now participate. For example, one family joins us as often as possible (2-3 times a week), with the help of their son (who also joins in)! Both husband and wife are coping with a variety of chronic conditions, and have personal support staff from the community coming into their home at various times. Generally, this would prevent them from scheduling transport to SMART™ community classes regularly.
- Retirement home residents are still able to join. We have been missing our retirement home residents, knowing that they have been isolated as well. With the help of the various home staff, we have seen some residences join us virtually for both class options, as it suits their residents and staff availability.
June was Seniors Month - thanks to all of our participants who wore purple and gave us the thumbs up during our virtual classes! What a great turnout!
Links to our in-home exercises shared from March and April 2020:
In-home exercises (from March 19)
In-home exercises version 2 (from March 31)
Bingo challenge (from April 17)
Client Safety Tip of the Month:
Heat illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are mainly caused by over-exposure or over-exertion in the heat. If you experience symptoms such as dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, extreme thirst or decreased urination, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best. To beat the heat, avoid sun exposure and stay hydrated, dress for the weather, check in with friends, seek air-conditioned spaces, take cool showers, and avoid outdoor activities during the warmest part of the day between 11 a.m. -4 p.m. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating. For more information and a list of cooling centres, call Waterloo Region Public Health 519-575-4400 or visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca/extremeheat.