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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 12/13/2016

Beaumont and the Wellness Equation

Beaumont and the Wellness Equation

People don’t move to Beaumont at Bryn Mawr just to retire in their comfy chairs.  They move to Beaumont because they want to be socially, mentally and physically engaged. Residents get every opportunity, as Beaumont is the only Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in the nation that is cooperatively owned and governed by residents. As a result, residents take a distinctly holistic approach to wellness, connecting the dots between the Wellness and Health Centers, educational and event programming, dining and nutrition, and  fitness. 

Fitness at Beaumont is a key component of the Wellness equation for all residents, whether age 65 or 95. As one resident quipped, “ e dining program here is so good that I would really pack on the pounds were it not for our new Fitness Center!”  e new, ultra-modern Fitness Center was completely re-built two years ago, featuring a heated pool with a handicap lift , comfortable dressing areas, a gym with state-of-the-art equipment, a roomy group exercise room, and even a massage room. But as with all disciplined regimens, some coaching is required. 

Enter Diana DiMeglio, Fitness and Aquatics Coordinator, and coach-in-chief of the  fitness program. Diana, a graduate of West Chester University, studied kinesiology (exercise science) and nutrition, and applied herself to working with older adults. Starting as an intern, her career encompasses nearly 10 years in wellness training at a number of retirement communities prior to coming to Beaumont. Said Diana, “Older adults appreciate and realize that exercise is important as preventive medicine, and critical to their overall quality of life.”

A recent study by NHIS researchers followed 30,000 older adults over a period of 15 years, and found that those who strength trained twice a week had 46% lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41% lower odds of cardiac arrest and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer. Based on this data and for more practical reasons, Diana incorporates resistance exercises into her workout programs. “It helps residents manage their daily activities with greater ease, reduces the risk of falls and injuries, and boosts their metabolism to help control age-related weight gain,” she said.

Diana takes a personal approach to put leery residents at ease when  first coming face-to-face with the exercise equipment. She starts with a one-on-one meeting to begin developing a customized program: she reviews their health history, assesses their ability, and establishes desired goals and outcomes. “No matter their level of fitness or ability, I work with them to develop a program that is best for their overall wellness and moves them toward their goals – whether that is improving their agility, balance and stamina, or just improving their golf swing,” she added.

Explained Diana, “I take into account their preferences. Some people hate machines like the treadmill. Because we are fortunate to have the Beaumont Woods with a number of outdoor walking trails, I’ll incorporate that into their program instead.” Additionally, she’ll explain the workings and purpose of each piece of equipment, and others personal, one-on-one training sessions to get residents started with confidence.

She also offers a number of low-impact group classes designed to build strength and endurance over time, and to introduce camaraderie into the program. A one-hour low-impact water aerobics class works on cardiovascular endurance and strength, using only water as resistance; “Energize with Exercise” builds strength with free weights and machines; “Fit-n-Flex” focuses on  flexibility and balance using di erent sized balls; and her favorite class works every nook and cranny of the body through a workout circuit of 14 different stations.

Mrs. Eta Glassman, a resident and regular on the equipment circuit, completes her regimen faithfully each and every morning. “When my husband and I moved to Beaumont a few years ago, my husband had trouble walking and I just wasn’t strong enough to li his wheelchair in and out of the car. A er Diana developed a daily regimen for us, my husband is much stronger and happier. A game-changer for both of us,” she said with a smile, proudly showing o her biceps.

Diana has set herself some lo y goals too. She is working on developing educational programming as well as some fun incentive programs with awards as additional motivation. For Active Aging Week, a yearly celebration through the International Council on Active Aging, Diana coordinated multiple events including a Game Day event party with options for playing ping pong, bocce, Wii bowling, badminton, golf putt, bean bag toss, and ladder ball. She also gave a detailed lecture on Fall Prevention in which she discussed muscle balance, posture, and the workings of the vestibular and sensory systems. Together with the Wellness Center, she hopes to develop an ongoing seminar series, inviting physicians and experts to speak on various health and  fitness topics.

To balance the wellness equation at Beaumont, Diana works closely with the Wellness Center staff , who track
residents’ health status and make medical and nutritional recommendations, and Executive Chef John Bauer and staff , who in turn accommodate residents’ dietary needs such as low sodium or gluten-free diets. “Wellness has to
include great food – fresh, nutritious and delicious,” said Chef Bauer. “We keep our own vegetable and herb garden and we pride ourselves on serving restaurant-quality meals every day.” Fortunately, Diana is there to watch over residents’ waistlines!

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