We aren’t getting any younger. The world's population of adults over 65 years old has grown steadily over the past century. At present there are more people living in the aforementioned age group than ever before. This is presenting politicians with challenges both economically and ethically with regards to care. Ensuring the wellbeing of those residing in retirement homes or assisted living accommodations has become a priority in many cases. We at Power Plate are also facing up to the task of shaping the wellness of our aging population.
By introducing whole body vibration into a daily routine, Power Plate is assisting people to move more often and more comfortably.
"I used to hop and skip and run and jump...now I sit, stand and shuffle." These were the words of Rose, a lady in her late 80's whom I had the pleasure of speaking with recently. Rose is a resident in a care home, just north of England, which is using a Personal Power Plate. Her ability to move as she used to has naturally declined like all of her neighbors in the facility. "What's the vibrating box going to do for me?" was Rose's opening question having seen my branded t-shirt. My answer was, as it often is, 'it depends on how you use it.'
For the thousands of users just like Rose, Power Plate is introduced as a tool to reconnect the body’s systems. With poor motor control, a slowed nervous system and an unwilling circulatory system, it's difficult to hop or skip. Running and jumping are certainly out of bounds!
Begin With Success
Starting from the most basic point is sometimes the best option. In the case of our elderly or active aging user, it may be best to pull up a chair to use Power Plate. It's what we advise in our programming for people like the lovely Rose. Sitting comfortably in a familiar chair with both feet on the Power Plate platform means that we start in a place from which we can't fail. No loss of balance, no falls, no exhausted muscles. Stimulating the feet is enough to enhance blood flow, nourishing the tissues while awakening nerves and receptors. Adding motion is the next step. A little wiggle of the toes. A toe tap. Rocking the feet from side to side. Rolling the knees and ankles around. Pulling back onto the heels and pushing the toes to the sky.
All these simple strategies can get the foot to better connect with the brain. Rose doesn't have to leave her chair. She doesn't need her nurse to pick her up or hold her hand for stability. And the images below show the simplicity of Rose's routine.
Making Power Plate a part of your weekly routine is vital. Short interactions with the vibration are the key to creating this good habit. It might mean as little as 30 seconds per movement, 2-5 exercises just 3 times per week. In the case of someone in their 80’s, it's a 3-5 minute chunk out of their day. A small price to pay for a big neurological nudge.
For more information on using whole body vibration with older adults, specialist populations or people requiring professional care, please contact Power Plate directly.
And Rose, if you are reading this, I'll be checking on your progress!
By David Howatson, Performance Health Systems UK Master Trainer