Exercise: Helping Residents Have Fun and Stay Physically Active at UMRC

Staying physically active plays a vital role in healthy aging. The McMullen Wellness Center at UMRC’s Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC), highly popular with CRC residents, celebrated its opening a year ago, but is now off limits due to COVID-19. Tony Maino, Director of Lifestyle and Health, and the Life Enrichment team were determined to maintain the fitness momentum they had started and have found creative ways to keep independent living residents moving while quarantined during the pandemic.

“We teach seven classes a week from the CRC Chapel so that independent living residents in Dancey House and the Garden Homes can watch on the CRC television channel and exercise from their own rooms,” says Tony.

Classes include seated strength, balance, and drum fit. Residents who wish to participate receive the necessary equipment, and attendance is tracked.

“We have 31 residents currently participating with the tracking, but I’m sure there are more,” says Tony. “We call out the names of the residents we know are participating during the class, and they seem to really like it. It helps them feel like we are working out together.”

CRC resident Dorothy Greer agrees. “I try to do the 30-minute exercise classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings presented live from the Chapel by Tylene Costello (health fitness specialist). I like her smile and how she welcomes us by name, just as if we were there. I also like that I can stay in my robe with my water or coffee beside me while I do my seated exercises.”

For CRC’s Prairie Cottages residents, Tony’s team leads an outdoor class three days a week. “Life Enrichment has been helping as we try to get residents from each street involved,” says Tony. “The residents meet us in their driveways and on their front porches. We do a timed strength circuit with new exercise routines handed out each week.” So far, 37 Prairie Cottages residents are participating in these outdoor fitness classes.

Prairie Cottages resident Carol Edman enjoys these opportunities to be outside and see her neighbors. “Tony and Hazel and their teams are doing a great job with the exercise classes. I certainly appreciate all they are doing to keep us moving, get outside, and see our friends and neighbors from a safe distance. It’s so fun to watch everyone and to yell encouragement to each other from across the street.”

“We really try to bring out the energy and promote some friendly competition among the residents on how loud they can be and how many are participating,” says Tony. “It’s a fun class for the residents and staff.”

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