October 28, 2013
I believe that we, who teach #ZumbaGoldChair to the elderly and infirmed in Assisted Living, Adult Day Care, Memory Care and Skilled Living facilities, are an unusual and special group of instructors.
I never thought I could do this. In my first first few weeks teaching #ZumbaGoldChair classes to people with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, some in wheelchairs and walkers, I thought about my own mortality and I was scared. I could not imagine what it must be like for them to live the rest of their lives sick or in a wheelchair or suffer with a degenerative neurological condition. I also thought how wonderful it could be if I could bring them some fun and excitement through Zumba Gold Fitness movements. I could help them remember the joy of music and exercise.
We, #ZumbaGoldInstructors, may not be the best dancers, with the best choreography, but we have something special to share that’s just as important..our love, our enthusiasm, our passion. It’s all about our participants and making sure that they are all involved, People will often hear me say, “No sleeping in my class. We’re here to have fun, dance and move. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. So let’s shake it.” We know we’re making a difference for them today. Many of my participants thanked me for “keeping them alive” one more day. Some of them have said that when they see me, their life force gets turned on.
Wow! that’s a powerful statement. I have never received so much appreciation and gratitude for what I do.
The elderly are living in their future and do appreciate every day that they are still alive. We instructors derive great pleasure and satisfaction knowing we’ve made a difference in one person’s life today.
Many of my participants are in the last stages of their lives. Many of them will never leave their facility alive. My role is to impart my love of music and movement as a healing tool to the participants. Besides loving the music and loving to teach, we Zumba Gold Instructors have to be extremely devoted and passionate about what we do with this population.. We have to be because It’s very difficult emotional and physical work. I’m not speaking about the dancing aspect of the class. It’s how we have to generate ourselves to be to be able to encourage their participation. I don’t do choreography . I gear the movements to whatever the individuals are able to do. Sometimes, all some people can do is move an arm or a leg and many of them need many repetitions.
Zumba Gold Instructors, whose classes consist primarily of people in wheelchairs or walkers, have to put more energy into what we do with them than we would if we were teaching healthy, strong, active #ZumbaGoldies.
Note: I do teach some regular Zumba Gold classes other than chair and it charges my battery.
Sometimes our physically/neurologically challenged participants fall asleep in their wheelchairs during the class This is not something I take lightly. I usually walk over to them, pick up their hands and move their arms to the music, just to keep them awake. It’s not healthy for them to sleep all day, without some sort of movement or stimulation. Sometimes, they forget where their shoulders are or how to clap their hands and they look so confused. I often dance up to them, make eye contact and with hands-on, help them remember. Amazingly, once I do the movement with them and suggest they continue to do it, they do.
However, by the time I get home from teaching 2-3 classes a day, I’m ready for a nap or a walk at the beach. I love the residents and love watching their faces change from unresponsive or sleeping to alive and expressive. I derive so much pleasure from working with the most difficult cases, because I know they will eventually return to this moment and dance with us the best way they can.
I will continue teaching Zumba Gold Chair classes to the elderly as long as I live, because no where and no group has ever expressed their love, their affection, their appreciation and gratitude for what I do and what they gain from having a Zumba Gold Fitness class in their lives. They’ve #kissedmyhands, they’ve kissed my face, they’ve hugged me, they thank me. They tell me that I am doing God’ work; they call me one of #Earth’sangels. This is worth a million dollars to see that what I love to do is making such a difference in their lives. There’s no other population I’d rather be teaching.. #loveteachingzumbagold.