By Anthony Ruggeri, FOX Rehabilitation
“I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, a little better all the time.”
This quote from a classic Beatles song sums up where we are right now. Over the past year, Assisted Living communities and the world at large experienced something we never thought we would, a pandemic. Lifestyle adjustments had to be made. Many older adults stayed isolated in fear of being exposed to COVID-19. Now, vaccinations have helped us see a light at the end of the tunnel. Families are interacting again, kids are playing, and older adults are becoming more mobile.
No doubt, this progress is welcomed and exciting for us all. However, it does present some challenges specifically for the geriatric population. Because of the sedentary lifestyle many have experienced over the past year, the increase in activity can expose a decline in functional reserve, physical strength, and endurance, leading to falls. The functional reserve is like a fuel tank. The less exercise and physical activity someone participates in, the less functional fuel remains, and many seniors are running on close to empty. It is the responsibility of the family, caregivers, and professionals to advocate for a movement, exercise, and the utilization of physical and occupational therapies to keep older adults happy and healthy, allowing them to thrive in their living environment and beyond.
Chelsea Senior Living and FOX Rehabilitation partner to create a wellness continuum in every Assisted Living community that promotes proactive wellness and rehabilitation to ensure resident safety and well-being. Exercise classes, as well as, physical, occupational, and speech therapy help to maintain the functional reserve and prevent falls and hospitalizations. Over the past year in Chelsea communities, resident engagement in therapy has increased while average falls have continued to decline.
FOX Rehabilitation has specialized in geriatric therapy for over 22 years. The concept of utilizing tools readily available in a patient’s home environment combined with spending time treating in common living areas helps to facilitate effective plans of care. FOX is also a big proponent of providing education that residents can carry over to their everyday lives. Going for a walk or participating in any moderate physical activity that allows the heart rate to increase, can benefit residents without being overly strenuous.
In addition to wellness programming, Chelsea Senior Living offers an array of activities for residents to enjoy, which unquestionably helps strengthen the mind and body. Modified for safety based on state and CDC guidelines, book club, educational courses, games, ice cream socials, bingo nights, lunch trips and entertainment outings are all accessible as part of monthly calendar events. These activities are led by an experienced Lifestyle Director and staffed by a wholesome team of recreation professionals.
There are so many fun things offered every day in Chelsea communities. The stronger residents are, the more they will be able to experience and enjoy. The Chelsea and FOX partnership helps increase engagement and ensures residents are living life to the fullest. As David Bowie sings in the song Golden Years, “look at that sky, life’s begun, nights are warm and the days are young”. There are memories yet to make and moments yet to cherish. Be well, be strong, live healthy, and continue to thrive.
For more information about the importance of Functional Reserve: Functional Reserve’s Value for Older Adults in Senior Living (foxrehab.org)
For more information about exercising during the pandemic: What are the Benefits of Exercise for COVID-19? (foxrehab.org)