Residents at South Country Village have a new view on movement thanks to a unique project that brought Medicine Hat College kinesiology students to their retirement community.
Using a monitoring system developed by local chiropractor Ryan Comeau, students set up shop during a fall prevention class and worked one-on-one with participants over six sessions this semester.
“This project takes the kinesiology lab into the community, exposing students to real life situations where they are able to apply their learning,” explains instructor Russel Krasnuik.
“The Kinetisense software combines technology with the monitoring of movement and balance. By looking at avatars of participants, we are able to observe their posture, balance, and alignment through a series of movements.”
In addition to looking at movement, the project also allows students to apply their leadership and communication skills. Learning to speak audibly and be concise while understanding the strengths and limitations of their clients are valuable lessons they took away from the experience. Just by watching the facility’s recreational therapist and her interaction with the community, students identified and reflected on positive characteristics of leadership.
Encouraging self-leadership is also an important goal of the project.
“I liked to see that people took it upon themselves to volunteer to get their posture and balance tested. Everyone there is looking to better themselves and take responsibility for their own well-being,” says student Deandra Dodd.
Rick Lewans was one of several residents looking for ways to increase his mobility.
“It’s like an x-ray,” says Lewans of the technology that allows him to see himself on screen and watch how his muscles respond to movements. As a result, he has greater understanding of how he moves and is able to make adjustments to improve balance.
“I couldn’t wiggle my toes or hands at first but it is much better now. The program is good at getting us moving.”
South Country’s recreational therapist, Katie Jansma, and recreation aide, Shannon Norman, facilitate the weekly fall prevention program and are impressed by the value this community lab offers their clients.
“We were so excited when the college approached us. The residents have enjoyed working with the students,” says Jansma, who saw class attendance grow from six to 15 people with the addition of the project. “Our goal is to keep people out of wheelchairs and hospitals so this is really good for us.”
With the data gathered, Krasnuik and his students will process the results and return to South Country at the end of March to present residents with a full report.
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