Hear the story behind physiotherapist Candace Larson’s six word stories.
My six word stories are “Day programs: Changing lives of seniors” and “Enhancing and strengthening teams through engagement.”
I’ve worked as the regional physiotherapist with Fraser Health’s day programs for older adults for the past 10 years. Even in private practice, whenever I had the choice I would work with all the older adults. I love their stories, and I love caring for them. I had a very close relationship with my grandmother so that definitely steered me in this direction.
Day programs are such a great way to keep seniors living at home longer and help provide a break for caregivers. When people are referred here through Home Health they have access to many different resources, and it is affordable even for people on a limited budget. Clients may have an assessment by me and ongoing physiotherapy support through the rehab assistant. They have medical monitoring through the nurses. Our recreation programmers and recreation workers provide a variety of safe exercise classes, social and active games, and programs for cognition. Plus, clients get a nutritious lunch in a social setting.
I help them realize their potential through movement. I have a motto that you’re never too old to start exercising. We have a client who’s 101 and we get him exercising and moving, and he’s so appreciative of it. I find that older adults often appreciate what many of us take for granted. One woman in her late 90s who was in my advanced balance class said “I can’t believe I can stand up without using my arms!” That’s because we practiced it every week. Another client’s goal was to make it up the flight of stairs at his son’s place to have Christmas dinner, and we helped him achieve that.
My home base is in Chilliwack but I also cover five other programs in Abbotsford, Mission, Maple Ridge, New Westminster and Burnaby. Part of my job involves monthly sessions where I teach day program staff across the region about falls prevention, lifts and transfers, Parkinson’s disease, communicating through body language, and many other topics. I’m also on the organizing committee for the annual education day for day program staff, and seeing the success of that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
I’m an engagement radical as well, which is an amazing way to renew my enthusiasm. For What Matters to You Day, we asked our day program clients what mattered to them, and it was so powerful to hear their positive feedback. For Change Day BC, we collected over a hundred pledges from our education day.
All these pieces of my job add up to helping create a positive workplace where staff comes together to do a good job and give the best care for our clients.