Co-op student implements new exercise program for seniors

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

by Alecz Sallows

Karen Poveda, a kinesiology student at the University of Waterloo, is helping seniors remain physically active as they age. During her co-op work term at the Schlegel Villages long-term care facility, she implemented a new program called Move More. This program focuses on finding creative ways to incorporate movement into senior residents’ daily lives.

Amy Harbin, Karen’s co-op supervisor, was thrilled by her initiative. “Waterloo co-op students have a unique ability to apply their enthusiasm and skills more effectively than students from any other co-op organization, and Karen was no exception,” she says.

The motto of the Move More program is simple: “Move More throughout your day in any way.” Karen encouraged residents to take this motto to heart, suggesting they try simple exercises such as stretching before breakfast and tapping their toes while waiting for the elevator. She also organized large-scale group exercise events that attracted more than 100 participants. Residents who took part in the program experienced a boost in mood, a heightened sense of purpose and increased feelings of engagement with their community.

The Move More program was so successful that Schlegel Village asked Karen to speak at a company-wide Innovation Summit. Karen provided insight into launching and maintaining the program, which helped to get it up and running at more locations. “Because of Karen’s work getting this program off the ground, more senior residents will maintain their independence as they age,” Amy says.