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Abilities over Disabilities

July 06, 2020

Guest Blog Submission 

Written by Dan McEwen (Director of Market Development, Motitech Canada)

Too many of our elders are inactive and alone in care homes across Canada. Therapeutic recreation staff do their best with limited time, energy and budget but elders are often left wanting and needing more engagement. COVID-19 has brought this to the forefront of everyone’s attention as individuals have often been confined to their rooms with minimal physical and cognitive activity and social interaction. Complications from inactivity are detrimental to one’s overall wellbeing and quality of life. Keeping everyone alive through this pandemic is paramount. Ensuring they feel alive is equally important for their health and wellbeing.

At Motitech, we base everything we do on the principle that all humans are equally valuable,independently of age or functional levels. We aspire to motivate, inspire, invigorate, and to change lives by focusing on abilities instead of disabilities and allowing people to live fully through meaningful moments. As social entrepreneurs, Motitech will always strive to improve people’s quality of life around the world through physical activity, mental stimulation and social connectedness.

Implementing activities that maximise wellbeing from participation can ensure elders get the most within the limitations of time and resources. Research continues to support a combination of multiple evidence-based interventions to maximise benefit. An academic research paper from the UK found “the largest effects found for moderate physical activity levels, and for activity types with high levels of mental (e.g., memory, attention), physical (e.g., coordination) and social (e.g., social interaction) demands.” (Roberts et al. 2017)These activities have the potential to even decrease the burden placed on staff within these homes. Staff turnover and burnout comes to the detriment of our loved ones in LTC homes across Canada. Non-pharmacological options like Motiview carry fewer risks and less adverse effects. These sorts of solutions can be made accessible in homes to equip these staff members to address some responsive behaviours.

We cannot return to pre-COVID engagement levels for our elders. They deserve to have their abilities respected and provided an opportunity to engage in valued activities that improve their health status and ultimately, their quality of life. There are many evidence-based innovations that are ready for implementation. We must continue to hold those that discuss innovation at a corporate level accountable to implementing these ideas to the benefit of those they are truly working for: our loved ones in LTC.

Reference:

Roberts, C. E., Phillips, L. H., Cooper, C. L., Gray, S., & Allan, J. L. (2017). Effect of Different Types of Physical Activity on Activities of Daily Living in Older Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity , 25 (4), 653-670. Retrieved Jun 23, 2020, from https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/japa/25/4/article-p653.xml

About the Author:

After completing his PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa, Dan McEwen joined a multi-site research    project focused on the use of Motiview, a motivational technology to increase physical activity for elders and individuals living with dementia. After seeing the positive benefits on not just the main user but the entire environment around them, he decided to join Motitech Canada full time to spread this knowledge and joy to more sites to help eradicate physical & cognitive inactivity and social isolation in care homes across Canada.