Following on from her stroke in January 2017, Mum’s recovery has been slow and, sometimes, we take two steps forward, then three steps back. However, things have recently started to improve, thanks to the Stroke Association’s Moving Forward course.
Following a meeting with the Falls Prevention Team, Mum was referred to Martin Haney, a Stroke Support Co-ordinator and, after an initial assessment, was signed up to a 12-week, post-Stroke fitness and wellbeing class.
The small group meet each week at Withdean Sports Complex in Brighton for two hours of conversation, education and exercise. The first hour consists of chatting about their week, their highlights, any problems and sharing their experiences.
For example, Mum was feeling very tired in the afternoon, and when she mentioned this, two others in the class said they suffered the same. This made Mum feel that it wasn’t just her and she wasn’t alone in feeling how she felt. Mum really opened up and was so pleased that she could chat about how the Stroke had affected her with others who had gone through a similar thing and were in the same situation.
After the weekly chat, Martin spends time covering a range of topics which can help in preventing future Strokes, for example, how to make positive lifestyle changes, promote healthy living and help with potential physical and mental hurdles the Stroke survivors are facing; such as sticking to a healthy diet, nutrition, food groups, movement, good and bad fats, feelings and emotions. Martin makes the sessions fun and informative; sometimes there is a quiz, team games, puzzles and competitions which always end in bags of laughter.
During the second hour, everyone – including the Carers who attend – take part in a range of exercises to music. Starting with a warm-up and stretching moves, the class then move on to circuit-based activities which last for three minutes each.
Moving through the different stations, participants do wall chest presses, step-ups, hand and knee co-ordination, sitting to standing movements, weighted shoulder and bicep curls, walking drills and, Mum’s favourite, cycling on a stationary spin bike. After all the circuits have been completed, it’s time for the seated work-out with exercise bands, slow sit to stands, a cool down and final stretch.
Participants are regularly monitored and have regular, update assessments – one at the half way mark and the other at the end of the 12 weeks – and once the course has been completed, participants can move on to the follow-on course, which is a weekly exercise hour.
I’ve seen a marked improvement in Mum’s physical and mental wellbeing since she joined the class. She’s much more confident, has made a lovely group of friends and she’s determined to continue with a regular exercise routine.
Remarkably, Mum has also cut down on her salt and sugar intake, is drinking much more water and, when we’re doing the weekly shop, she’ll check the traffic light system on food packets to make sure she’s being good.
If your parent or someone you know would benefit from the Moving Forward sessions, please see links below:
- Stroke Association Recovery Service
- Stroke Association Moving Forward Service
- Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals, visit: https://www.bsuh.nhs.uk/services/stroke/
Or, to contact Age Space Sussex, please email: [email protected] or call 01273 608544.