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Exercise is life: Joel’s exercises and games inspire older people to keep moving

Joël Kruisselbrink’s creativity in designing exercises and games inspires elderly people to keep moving and live life to the fullest.

Nursing home residents are often understimulated and have little motivation to exercise. As an exercise instructor at Lelie Zorggroep, Joël Kruisselbrink knows better than anyone how important exercise is for the elderly. His passion for creating exercises and games enables older people to continue enjoying life while keeping them moving.

Elder care… not for me

“Elder care was not for me at first”, Joel admits. But after five years working in elderly care, he is completely sold. “You can do so much with movement … because everything is movement. By taking that as a guiding principle, you can go anywhere.”

Image : BrightVibes.com

Exercise equals Life: Low-threshold activities

Joel makes exercise fun again. “The agogical assistance thing I do is basically that I get people out of bed again with fun activities, Joel said. He uses sports, games and other forms of exercise to give residents joy in life.

To make the activities accessible, Joel often uses materials found in the ward.“People need to become aware of what can you do with easy things”, Joel told BrightVibes. The aim is for care workers to start using the activities as well.

Residents love it

Joel’s approach is paying off. “When they have been exercising with me you will sometimes hear them say to each other: ‘Hey Nel, shall we go and have a cup of coffee together now?'”, according to Joel. “But I think that’s actually also the most beautiful thing that you see after the time of: we have been activated and they are seeking social contact with each other again.”

Viral videos inspire others

Joel’s videos now have great reach on social media and inspire others to do the same. “I hope my videos go even more viral, that many more people see my videos.” says Joël. “That we are all going to take a different view of healthcare. De zorg moet leuk zijn en is leuk.” Care should be fun and is fun.”

Joel’s work is an inspiration to many and his efforts show that exercise and enjoyment of life can go hand in hand.


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If you want more inspiration on how we can improve the lives of older people with dementia, check out our dossier on dementia here. And also watch the wonderful videos we recorded with Teun Toebes, the Dutch author of the book “Bejaarden(te)huis”, among others.

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