Necessity breeds innovation and that is exactly what happened at Park Centre. Wellness director Alyssa McCarl and coordinator Brittany Hopwood were forced to think outside the box to keep their residents moving with group exercise classes prohibited during the current pandemic.
First, they met with their residents and conducted fitness classes from their balconies or patios. Now, the fitness duo at Park Centre has taken to Tik Tok to keep their residents moving.
“We’re always trying to get our residents moving,” McCarl said. “We have had a lot of fun with it so far.”
When Tik Tok, a type of social media platform, came out, McCarl was steadfast she wasn’t going to use it. She thought it was mostly for teenagers. But without group classes, it was a perfect way to interact with the residents.
McCarl was a competitive dancer at Grand View University so she used her background in dance to choregraph the moves and Hopwood did all the recording and the technological aspect.
“We still can’t do group fitness stuff yet so this was another way to interact and do something physically,” McCarl said. “It has turned out to be quite a hit with the residents and their families.”
It’s been quite the hit nationally, too, as the videos were part of a Tik Tok story that appeared on washingtonpost.com. McCarl also was interviewed by WOI-TV 5 in Des Moines and was scheduled to be interviewed on Fox News before that fell through.
“I don’t know, but maybe we can go on Ellen next,” McCarl joked.
The Tik Tok exercises started about two weeks after balcony fitness got going. She got the idea from a friend when they were both at the Altoona campus.
McCarl teaches the routines to residents individually in the retirement home’s hallways. Hopwood then compiles the various videos and shares the finished product with the residents’ families.
One of the songs McCarl and Hopwood used in one of the videos was “YMCA” by the Village People. McCarl and Hopwood even have their own 10-second clip using the song “Tequilla” by The Champs.
It has been a very positive development as family members are still not allowed to visit inside the facility. Window and patio visits have started back up though.
“They really love it,” McCarl said. “It was a way for us to show people that our residents are still having fun despite the circumstances we are all in. We also sent challenges out to the families. We hope it can boost morale with our staff and residents.”
Contact Troy Hyde at 641-792-3121 ext. 6536 or firstname.lastname@example.org