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Residents 78 and 80 Years Young Show They’ve Still Got it! | Health

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Residents 78 and 80 Years Young Show They’ve Still Got it!
Health, People

Residents of Asbury Methodist Village, a retirement community of more than 1,300 residents, have found the secret to staying young and active—HealthAbility.  Phyllis Skiba, 78, and Harlene Buchanan, 80, can still dance the night away thanks in part to the strides they’ve made in Asbury’s special wellness program geared to seniors’ unique health needs.

Asbury’s HealthAbility program focuses on six dimensions of wellness that can lead to a more vibrant life.  A strong focus on one of those dimensions, physical wellness, helps provide the energy and mobility to pursue the others, such as spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, and vocational wellness. Through Senior Fitness assessments, participants can track their progress and receive guidance on improving physical activity, specifically building leg and arm strength, balance and endurance – activities that lead to physical well-being for people at any age.  This program is supported by Sodexo, which provides dining and facilities services for all communities in the Asbury system.

At Asbury Methodist Village, more than half of those in residential living and one-third of assisted living residents participate in the HealthAbility program.  Participants have experienced a 20 percent improvement in arm strength and a 14 percent improvement in endurance since the program began last year.  They also have improved their balance by 9.3 percent, potentially helping to reduce their risk of falling.

“These results should make anyone stand up and take notice,” said Asbury Methodist Village Executive Director David Denton.  “HealthAbility, in combination with our broader wellness program, is helping people do things that they could not do before being part of the program.”

Participants have high praise for the programs, especially the Skibas, who enjoy learning new dance steps in the community’s monthly Tea Dances, where residents learn new dances (waltzes, fox trot, and others) and can participate with their spouses or with others.

“If you’re able to take part in these kinds of wellness programs and you don’t, then you’re really missing out,” says Mrs. Skiba, who credits HealthAbility with giving her added flexibility.  “My body has always been kind of rigid, but now I can easily reach around to fasten my necklace, and bend over to tie my shoes – simple things that gave me trouble before.  My added flexibility has also helped with my dancing.” 

Mrs. Skiba and her husband, Michael, participate in the many Tea Dances offered at AMV.  In fact, this Sunday marks the third anniversary of the Tea Dances.

Mrs. Buchanan also enjoys the Tea Dances and even credits part of her recovery from meningitis a few years ago to it.  At that time, she lost significant brain function and had to learn to speak and read again, among other things.  Thanks to her husband George’s persistence and support and the help of experts, Mrs. Buchanan has recovered.  Her husband believes that counting the dance steps and keeping time to the music also played a part in her recovery.

“I can see I have more endurance and can walk farther than when I started.  I participate in some of the other classes that focus on stretching and strengthening my muscles as well,” says Mrs. Buchanan.  “The great thing is that there is always staff around to help you.”

“It’s exciting to see that our HealthAbility program is making a measureable difference in the lives of our residents,” says Mr. Denton.  “The program fits right into our ideal of providing residents with multiple opportunities to live life to the fullest and to do it their way.  That’s our commitment to them and they live it every day.”

Health, People

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