Alf had been a widower for ten years. He lived alone in a small fishing town on the coast. The things he most loved were throwing a line in, and his weekly catch up with mates at the local club. One day on his way home from the shops he tripped on an uneven piece of footpath, landing heavily on his knee. A bystander helped him up as Alf silently cursed himself and his local council. After that, Alf began to lose confidence about getting out and about, and stopped his weekly trip to the club. He missed his mates, but he was more worried about falling and really hurting himself, so he began staying home and playing it safe. Alf’s daughter noticing the change in him, referred him to the local Aged Care Assessment Team. That is how he met Beth.
Beth is the community care worker who came to Alf’s place to help him with things he couldn’t do by himself anymore. She noticed Alf becoming less steady on his feet. She told him about the Stay Standing Program that her community care organization was running, and how her other clients spoke highly of it. She had to talk Alf into it, but eventually he agreed to give the program a try.
Alf arrived at the first session not knowing what to expect. He didn’t want some stranger telling him what to do, or what not to do. They got everyone to do some sitting to standing and other tests, to find out how good everyone’s balance was. Then the group leader began to talk about the most common home emergencies that Seniors face. Alf sat back quietly and observed the goings on. The group was led by one of the care workers, and Beth was there too. He noticed that the group leader was very friendly, and good at getting the others to join in and talk, but Alf held back. Listening to other people around his age, Alf felt surprised and relieved to realize that he wasn’t the only one with concerns about falling. He listened as some people talked about how they had broken an arm or a hip. Others began talking about how they fell too, so he shared his story. “I don’t care about reducing my falls risks,” Alf concluded, “I just want to see me mates at the club again. Show me how to do that, and I’ll come back next week”. The group leader smiled and began talking about how to set meaningful goals and practising balance exercises. Alf sat back and realized that if he did the exercises from the program, it might help him get back to the club. Pretty soon it was morning tea, and as he sat around the table enjoying a home made scone and a cuppa, he realized that it had been too long since he had enjoyed chatting with other people. And Alf did come back.
Do you know someone like Alf? Send him along to his local Stay Standing Program. Get in touch to find out more.