Even though I’ve run over 1200 chair chi workshops in six years in the aged care sector I’m still experiencing ‘aha’ moments when teaching Chair Chi to residents of all levels of care.

The other day I was teaching a group of residents and two were not responding to my instructions and movements. For some reason, as I raised my arms, I also slightly raised my eyebrows and lifted my head – as an expectation for residents to follow my movements. Those two residents responded and raised their arms.

I thought this may have been a coincidence, and decided to test whether this technique did have an effect. Over the next few workshops I used the same technique and discovered it worked, more often than not.

That ‘aha’ moment has given me another technique to use for residents who have hearing problems, as well as for those who are not cognitively aware enough to follow verbal instructions.

Even after all these decades of teaching I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my teaching. These ‘aha’ moments certainly motivate me to continue teaching Chair Chi.

I sometimes discover an ‘aha’ moment when working with staff in our Chair Chi Training program. We have a segment called ‘shared experiences’ where we share our experiences working in aged care. Usually there will be several ‘aha’ moments when participants share things they do that work for them. When that happens I usually ask ‘may I steal that?’ and the response is always yes. ;)

I know when I’m teaching experienced staff, whose backgrounds include lifestyle, diversional therapy, nursing or physiotherapy, the ‘aha’ moments will come provided I keep an open mind.

And I’m reminded of what John Wooden, a former UCLA basketball coach once said, ‘it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts’.

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