Teamwork is the key to success
Antoinette * was 77 when her son moved in to help her with day-to day living. Soon he started worrying that his mum wasn’t moving around much – and she was putting on weight. Antoinette’s health issues meant she was missing out on activities she used to love.
Antoinette was already registered for a government home care package so her care co-ordinator contacted Wenika from In-Home Physio SA. The co-ordinator told Wenika that home support workers who visited Antoinette noticed she had trouble standing up from her chair, and getting in and out of a car was also tricky.
Wenika visited Antoinette at her house and they had a good chat before starting treatment.
“For me, it’s really important to understand my client’s emotional needs as well as their health issues,” the experienced physio said.
“I wanted to know Antoinette’s goals, her concerns and – most importantly – I wanted to hear what she thought was slowing her down.”
Antoinette told Wenika she used to love cooking and shopping but could no longer do these activities as it hurt to stand or walk for long. Lower back pain was giving her grief.
“I’m still trying to do things,” Antoinette told Wenika, “but it’s so frustrating. I tire easily and I keep having to sit down, so it takes all day.”
What happened next
“First, I had to address the pain in the lower back area as this was affecting Antoinette physically and emotionally,” Wenika said.
She used manual therapy and dry needles to alleviate Antoinette’s pain.
Then, she taught the 77-year-old some easy tricks to help her get in and out of a chair.
“I also taught her a simple move that she could do to get rid of some pain by herself, while she stood and cooked,” Wenika said.
“Antoinette was such a nice lady. She would give it a go and tried her best every time I visited her. She would say, ‘I will try if it’s going to help me’.”
A team effort
Next, Wenika taught Antoinette’s home support worker how to help with a home exercise program aimed at reducing Antoinette’s pain, strengthening her core, and improving endurance and joint flexibility.
“I also helped Antoinette’s care co-ordinator to find a weekly exercise class for her,” Wenika said.
They found a social group for Antoinette to join, and soon she was going on weekly bus trips to the movies or other outings.
“Antoinette is such an outgoing person so she enjoyed it, and it was rewarding for me to know she is getting out more,” Wenika said.
Antoinette continues to improve over time. Now, she can get out of a chair and car by herself. Her body is much stronger and everyone around her has noticed the change in her physical abilities and mindset.