Creativity and Encouragement through the Program for Active Living

Sindhu Liza Jose has been connected to Schlegel Villages for many years as a physiotherapist, working through the Michael T. Sharratt Program for Active Living (PAL) alongside kinesiologists and exercise therapists to help residents improve their physical abilities.

She admits that in long-term care settings, some people simply don’t expect a resident to find much by way of improvement because of the typically advanced age and the complexity of health challenges. Yet, she is singing the praises of the team within The Village at University Gates, where she’s recently seen four residents who required mechanical lift support when they first arrived that are now able to transfer without the lift.  Myron is out and active on a city bus in his wheelchair.

“It is not many LTC residents that I feel get better from total mechanical lift transfer status after a lengthy hospital stay, but in University Gates, it happens often now,” Sindhu says. “The mentioned four residents have complex health issues and it was amazing to see the strength coming back through various exercise programs.”

Sindhu and physiotherapy assistant Krupali Zalavadiya are meeting with a resident named Myron as they discuss the progress among so many residents thanks to the PAL program. Myron was featured as May’s Athlete of the Month at University Gates, and he’s proud of the strength he’s regained in the seven months he’s lived in the Village. The team may have to offer a little extra creativity and encouragement to get him moving each day, but then that was part of the impetus behind the program’s creation years ago. The PAL team is highly skilled when it comes to coaching the physical exercises, but they are equally skilled at designing individual regimens to meet each resident’s personal needs.

“We have a really great team here,” Krupali says. “We get to know each of the residents and, with Myron, for example, I know how to keep him on track.”

She smiles as she mentions this. “I know how to convince him.”

Myron is a retired teacher, Sindhu explains, and he thinks quite logically about each action he takes. Once he was able to stand and walk with the support of the team and his specialized walker, it was about small steps: 10, at first, then 15, 20 and 30.

Now he walks three or four lengths of the hall regularly. Sometimes the PSWs in the neighbourhood and the other residents will stop what they’re doing to cheer their approval and encouragement, and his daughter and son help motivate him, as well. Everyone has as part to play in incremental success, and that is the beauty of the program within the Village context.  

“I hope to make some more progress,” Myron says. “The PAL team and everyone has been so supportive, encouraging and motivating.”


Learn more about the Michael T. Sharratt Program for Active Living