Tag Archives: seniors

SAIL Away With Me

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SAIL Away With Me

SAIL. Stay Active and Independent for Life. This program, geared towards seniors, has become very dear to my heart. The older I get, the more important it is to me to remain active, especially with my nomadic lifestyle. And the more important it becomes to me to encourage others to remain active.

I see all too well the dangers of leading a sedentary life. Not only do muscles atrophy, but mental health also faces its challenges.

I painfully recall the days prior to my knee surgeries when walking from one room to another in my house was an effort. Once I had my new knees, I began to really appreciate the new mobility. Who knew that the ability to walk more than a few steps could become so meaningful?

I’ve been an instructor in the SAIL program for six years now in Leavenworth. On Friday I expanded my territory into East Wenatchee. My new participants are now either in assisted living or independent living at Bonaventure.

Our initial session was to introduce the program and provide information about the benefits of remaining active. I actually ran out of course materials and am excited about the response at that first meeting. Walkers and wheelchairs are not preventing these seniors in their desire to stay active. Exercises can always be modified.

Fall prevention is also the underlying idea behind this program. There are exercises focusing on balance as well as an aerobics component. Explanations are provided as to the benefits of individual exercises. Flexing and stretching become as routine as brushing our teeth everyday.

Increased mobility brings along with it a sense of freedom. This may be in the form of vacation travel or merely the ability to meander leisurely through a grocery store or a mall. For some, this may mean even a simple stroll down the street. For others it means being able to play with grandchildren.

Mental health benefits accompany the physical health benefits. Increased mobility means more opportunities for socialization and less isolation. This results in increased levels of happiness and decreased levels of depression.

I hope that I have provided some incentive in this post for you to remain physically active, no matter what your age. If you’re in Leavenworth or in East Wenatchee, come SAIL away with me. And if you are elsewhere in the world, I encourage you to find a way to stay active.

A Matter of Balance

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A Matter of Balance

Anyone who knows me well is quite aware that I am constantly taking courses. I have this thirst for knowledge and have way too many letters that come after my name. Thanks to the internet I have taken courses from Rice, Harvard and several other prestigious American universities. While the majority of these courses have been in the field of psychology, I have also begun delving into the area of health and fitness in more depth.

Back in 2017, I began attending SAIL classes in Leavenworth. No, this has nothing to do with boats or water. SAIL is an acronym for Stay Active and Independent for Life. After a couple of weeks, I was approached and asked if I’d be interested in taking the training to teach these fitness classes. It was a natural fit after teaching water aerobics classes at the YMCA back in Canada.

SAIL is a fitness program for seniors geared towards fall prevention. Classes begin with a warm up followed by an aerobics component. Dynamic and static balance exercises are next, followed by strength exercises for both the upper and lower body. Next are flexibility exercises for the upper and lower body as we cool down. I am now into my sixth year teaching here in Washington.

Always eager to learn more, this month I am taking a course called A Matter of Balance. This is a program based on Fear of Falling: A Matter of Balance offered by Boston University. I have very legitimate concerns regarding the fear of falling, primarily due to the fact that I’ve had two knee replacements. Some cognitive restructuring is in order and this course has been most beneficial to me.

I’ve met some amazing people in this course. The oldest in our class is ninety-one and I’m the baby at seventy. The others are in their seventies and eighties. We are all interested in remaining active and independent. Regular exercise is definitely a part of our daily routine.

As a child, I remember well when my own grandmother turned seventy. I recall thinking that she was old. Well, I’m that age now but I feel healthier than I did when I was in my fifties. And I attribute a lot of that due to the exercise that has become such an important part of my life. I do not feel old.

I look around me at the participants in the SAIL classes I teach. In their eighties and nineties they are a true inspiration to me. And I look forward to sharing with them what I have learned in A Matter of Balance classes.

Falls are a serious concern. The statistics from ERs regarding fall related incidents are staggering, as are those related to hospital admissions.

Most falls are preventable and falls should not be viewed as a natural part of aging.

So SAIL away with me today and perhaps some day I may have the opportunity to coach you in A Matter of Balance. Yes. I think that coaching in this program will be the next step for me.

Writing About Life

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Writing About Life

As a young child, I delighted in writing short poems and creating birthday cards with rhyming verses. I even continued to write throughout my teens. I began a novel but somewhere along the line the magic vanished. When depression and anxiety entered my life as an adult, I began to journal. Next came the publication of two self-help books. I then discovered the art of blogging. Unfortunately the journaling has fallen by the wayside at the moment, but a new course in writing memoirs has taken its place.

This week’s homework entails finding a childhood photo and sharing a memory. This has proven to be quite a difficult feat as all the family photo albums are back in Canada and I am not. While I do have countless photos of my own children stored on my Seagate, I have only a handful of myself. I think my appearance as well as taste in clothing has changed significantly over the years. The bonnet and dress have been replaced by jeans and t-shirts.

Van Kirk

Another writing challenge that has occupied my time recently is an article to be published in Scoop, the newsletter at the Leavenworth Senior Center. I submitted two articles last summer about my life in Mexico. The article I’m going to share in this post was co-written with my friend Karen. We are two of the instructors in the S.A.I.L. program here in town and highly encourage seniors to attend these fitness classes. We both recognize how the exercises have enhanced our health and well-being, and are eager to share this experience with others.

 

Here is the article:

                                      STAY ACTIVE AND INDEPENDENT FOR LIFE

                                                                (S.A.I.L)

The Senior Falls Prevention Study was undertaken in 2003-2005 by the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WSDOH recognized the need for a program and sponsored research in social marketing in 2005-2006 aimed at how best to motivate seniors to participate. Also in 2006 S.A.I.L. instructor training was developed and funding provided by the WSDOH. In 2007 the results of a study of the participants showed improved balance, mobility skills and leg strength, as well as a reduction in fear of falling. Further research continues to support these findings.

S.A.I.L. is a strength, balance and fitness program geared towards adults 65 years and older. The activities have been designed to help seniors to stay independent and active as well as to prevent falls.

S.A.I.L. is evidence based as participants are assessed regularly by experienced and skilled instructors trained by professionals associated with Wellness Place in Wenatchee.

Classes follow a format of warm up exercises, aerobics and activities that promote balance, strength and flexibility.

Due to the nature of the program, a doctor’s consent is required prior to enrollment. Please drop by to observe a class and obtain the necessary forms.

The one hour classes are free of charge and are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 am at First Baptist Church, 429 Evans Street, here in Leavenworth.

We hope you will join us soon!

 

 

And now it is time for me to put the finishing touches on my submission for my writing class. I will leave adulthood for the present and delve back into my childhood.