Creativity and expertise with the kinesiologists and the Program for Active Living
By Kristian Partington
When she decided to move home to Canada after a period of time working with the Australian Institute of Sport, Laura Domenicucci decided she wanted a different kind of job working closely with people.
Relationships and balance are important in life, she says, and her goal was a job offering both. After receiving her degree in kinesiology, she began working for the Canadian Paralympic team while also supporting injured veterans and then she moved on to Australia. Upon her return home in 2016, an opportunity with The Village of Wentworth Heights emerged and she jumped at the chance to work alongside older adults in a setting that is completely new in her breadth of experience.
“I’m loving it,” she says. “The people are amazing.”
She officially began working at the end of September 2016 as the exercise therapist for residents of the new retirement neighbourhoods who began to arrive in mid-November. She works closely with long-term care kinesiologist Kendra Ulina and together they strive to offer their residents new opportunities for healthy physical growth through the Program for Active Living.
A good example of this collaboration happened over the course of 12 days leading up to the Christmas season – the 12 Days of Fitness, as it came to be known. Laura borrowed the idea from something she took part in during her time in Australia, where different Olympic and Paralympic teams would demonstrate a daily exercise mirroring the theme in the well-known song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The videos, shared via social media, were meant to inspire the public to get more active.
Similarly, the 12 Days of Fitness at Wentworth Heights demonstrated different ways that residents and team members can easily add a little more exercise into their daily routines, and the videos were a fun way to come together as a village.
Some days at 2 p.m. when the sessions were set to take place, the fitness centre was packed as residents began to get into the spirit of the event. “It was great to see them all go through the exercises,” Laura says, noting that she and Kendra had to work closely to develop the movements.
“We had to have exercises that were long-term care friendly and retirement friendly for functionality,” she says, and they worked closely with the recreation teams to get the most out of the experience.
Throughout all Schlegel Villages, the Program for Active Living relies on the creativity and expertise of exercise therapists and kinesiologists to enhance the lives of residents. Laura, Kendra and the team at Wentworth Heights are but one example.
If you have a story to share about the PAL program in your village, please reach out to Kristian at firstname.lastname@example.org.