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Head, shoulders, knees, toes: A focus on mobility

February 2, 2012
by Sandra Hoban, Executive Editor
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Keep residents focused on maintaining or improving their physical status by engaging them in beneficial activities
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Residents whose conditions require physical and/or occupational therapy receive special care plans targeted to improving their individual conditions. Whether they are enthusiastic participants or just resigned to the necessity of rehabilitation, when therapy is indicated, results are achieved. What happens, however, when rehab is completed? Do residents continue to practice the principles they learned in therapy and exercise independently, or do they revert to their previous sedentary lifestyles?

Fleet Landing, a nonprofit CCRC located in Atlantic Beach, Fla., was founded by a group of retired naval officers in 1990, according to Patricia Mack, senior director of Independent Living Services. “Today our campus welcomes people from all walks of life,” she says. Since opening its doors to the greater community, Fleet Landing now enjoys a more vibrant and diverse resident population. “This diversity is reflected in the creation of programming that appeals to a broad spectrum of interests, activities and capabilities,” she adds.

One such initiative is Fleet Landing’s WELLInspired program that incorporates mind, body and spirit programs. Each month, residents eagerly anticipate a calendar listing all the activities to achieve Fleet Landing’s motto: Living Strong. This campus-wide program was developed to address residents at all levels of mobility. It’s the organization’s answer to keeping post-therapy residents actively engaged without the tedium and regimen of therapy sessions.

BODY AWARENESS

Improvement in mobility can continue in a fun and social atmosphere, explains Deb Goin, director of Wellness Services. “The movement portion of the WELLInspired programis offered to residents based on a functional fitness assessment evaluating his or her current flexibility, mobility, strength, breathing and more,” says Goin.

The three levels of fitness focus on residents ranging from the most mobility challenged to the fully functional. “After rehab,” says Goin, “a resident can work in the most appropriate level to maintain the gains made in therapy.” Not only do exercises address mobility issues, but they are also designed to improve or maintain flexibility and strength at each level.

●  Level I classes are suitable for beginners and those with more mobility/flexibility issues. One of the sessions at this level is designed to improve respiration along with movement. A course offered at this beginner level is Breathe Right: 30 minutes of focusing on mindful breathing combined with a group of exercises to improve range of motion. Residents learn to breathe deeply, increasing their oxygen levels and decreasing blood pressure.

●  Level II offers the Body Shop, a moderate workout class using weights to improve balance and increase upper and lower body strength. Goin adds that these exercises can be done either sitting or standing depending on the resident’s condition. “As residents gain strength and improves balance, it is rewarding to see them undertake more advanced routines,” says Goin. Another popular course, Cardio Fun, is an upbeat, low-impact dance routine designed to raise the heart rate.

●  Level III is an intense regimen for the most fit and advanced residents at Fleet Landing. One of the workouts, Rise & Shine, is an early morning boot camp. Participants perform a battery of exercises that target stamina, strength and balance.

Classes are held in the Fitness Center, which features equipment for strength, cardio and flexibility workouts. The equipment is designed specifically for seniors using air-pressure technology that reduces the risk of injury.

WET AND RESTORATIVE

In addition to the Fitness Center, Fleet Landing’s indoor and outdoor swimming pools offer not only socialization and recreation, but therapeutic benefits as well. Another program offered, Aqua Fitness, is structured so that even the most movement-challenged residents can benefit from simple heel-toe exercise in the pool. The exercises are impact free, allowing residents to gain strength, improve balance and increase range of motion while exercising safely in this buoyant environment. This also builds confidence. For the more physically active, water aerobics are available.

THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE

WELLInspired embraces the entire person. While residents strive to maintain or improve physical health, mind and spirit are not neglected because they are all components of successful and quality living. From yoga and stretching to Wii activities and more, residents wake up each day looking forward to strengthening their bodies, minds and spirits.

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