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Local Care Home Keeps Seniors Fit

Pictured walking around the Garden Terrace at Presbyterian Home of Williamsport is Patricia Nierle. She is often seen taking her laps to “get a good leg stretch” in.

Pictured with the weights is Maria Sassano. Maria is a busy lady, she loves to walk, help with things around the community and will take time with community life to exercise and lift weights for 30 minutes in the morning to keep her endurance up. 

There is a plethora of research that supports the idea that seniors that exercise regularly are healthier and enjoy a greater quality of living than those that do not. Common benefits include improved strength, improved balance, increased energy, and the delay or prevention of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. In addition, senior fitness has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of falls and improve cognitive function and memory. One local personal care home is working hard to ensure their residents stay healthy and active.

“At the Presbyterian Home of Williamsport (PHW), we encourage our residents to enjoy an active lifestyle. We try to make fitness fun and try new things. It is well known that physical activity has many advantages, such as the reduced risk of falling or fracturing bones, improved stamina and muscle strength, improved mood and an increased feeling of well-being,” said Renee Moore, Personal Care Home Administrator.

“We prioritize physical fitness. We offer stretching classes, fitness classes with weights, meditation, chair yoga and even cardio in the form of chair dancing to some of our favorite disco oldies. The staff at PHW try to make all forms of physical fitness fun and engaging. We also have a walking path and recumbent bicycles available for the residents’ use. Our staff also works in conjunction with therapy services,” Moore added.

“There are a myriad of activities that touch on all these different types of programming and that residents who have their own leisure time activities are provided with what they need. We try to provide programming that makes the residents thrive and engage within the community. I believe that there is also a strong social aspect to senior fitness. Group fitness is fun, and it helps the residents by encouraging them at all fitness levels. We laugh and make it fun. The residents and I love meditation as well as yoga. Physical fitness does not need to be strenuous and tedious. It can also be relaxing and fun,” said Gina Foresman, Activities Coordinator at the Presbyterian Home of Williamsport.

Residents are encouraged to be actively engaged in all ways to foster wellness and a high quality of living. This includes religious, physical, social intellectual, and vocational programs. In addition, they are often taken on community outings. “While we recognize the importance of physical fitness, we also know that fitness is that one piece of the puzzle to create an enriching lifestyle. Meeting the spiritual, social, intellectual, and emotional needs also helps grow a vibrant community,” said Moore.

When asked how the culture at Presbyterian Home at Williamsport created a culture of wellness, Moore said, “Presbyterian Senior Living (PSL) firmly believes in promoting a culture of wellness that extends far beyond just fitness. Our Thrive Wellness program promotes a philosophy of engagement, purposeful living, and meaning in everyday life. Thrive Wellness is resident-driven, explicitly focusing on six dimensions of wellness.

This program was designed collaboratively, with PSL team members and residents working side-by-side, using resident surveys, focus groups, and smaller community group studies to ensure the program is a direct reflection of what residents want to see at their communities.

Thrive Wellness promotes a culture of wellness, engagement, and purposeful living to empower all individuals to live their best lives. This is not a calendar of activities. It’s a culture that encourages everyone to live, and experience life along six dimensions of wellness and purposeful living.”

Foresman went on to say, “I love my job and am blessed to do what God has called me to do. I feel I make a difference in what I do daily, and I am blessed to be employed by a company that encourages creativity and its main goal is to see residents thrive and grow. I got into this job after praying to God for a purposeful job. I previously volunteered at Elmcroft, and I really love working with seniors. God answered my prayer, and I was hired in June 2020.”

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