Posted by Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook on 12/20/2017

Healing and Growing

Healing and Growing

Stronger. Healthier. More resilient. Everyone wants to be these things as they age. Achieving these goals often requires a little help though, especially when facing difficult or complex diagnoses.

At Five Star Premier Residences of Chevy Chase, residents receive the support they need to age well and live long, full lives from a professional staff. Five Star Premier Residences is a full-service, resort-style senior living community offering the finest in independent and assisted living apartments, as well as rehabilitation services. One of the unique services available to residents and the general public is a top-notch physical therapy program provided on-site by Ageility.

Ageility offers senior-focused outpatient therapy solutions in Five Star residences and other locations across the country. Ageility’s comprehensive physical rehabilitation and wellness services help seniors improve their physical strength and maintain independence, whether they are recovering from a medical procedure or coping with a long-term condition. Programs include aquatic therapy, orthopedic rehabilitation, memory enhancement, post surgical or post-hospitalization care, and personal fitness and wellness.

At the Premier Residences of Chevy Chase, Ageility is led by Kathleen Andreone, who has a doctorate in physical therapy. She directs a staff of three full time therapists and therapy assistants, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist. Kathleen has additional training in helping individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, and she focuses on keeping these patients independent for as long as possible. With her capable staff and diverse training, Kathleen is prepared to help every client—whether they need a little help to stay strong as they age or intensive assistance to get well again.

Stronger Every Day

Camilla Durfee and her husband, Charles, moved to Five Star two years ago after looking at quite a few nearby communities. “For us, this is the place,” Camilla said simply. Five Star is the place were all the Durfee’s needs are met and their future is secure. “Between the physical therapy that’s available and the facility in general, all our needs are taken care of—well taken care of. And we never feel isolated or bored because there is always something to do.”

Camilla has always been active and adventurous, and the move to Five Star has helped her continue to stay engaged, while pursuing new interests. “I’m a water rat now, which is totally a surprise to me because I never had any interest in being in the pool,” said Camilla.

A friend invited Camilla to join her for water aerobics one day, and she was hooked. She now takes classes in the pool three times a week.

Camilla is also a member of the Potomac Boat Club, and she still rows regularly.

“I was 56 when I started rowing,” Camilla recalled. “I always tell people they can do it—whatever it is. You can do a lot of things if you just put your mind to it. And if it turns out to be something you like doing it, you’ll keep at it.”

Beyond her other athletic pursuits, Camilla also works out with one of Ageility’s personal trainers, David Wiley. He explained, “With Camilla, I focus on strength training and core training. We try to target the smaller muscle groups, since she is already rowing and doing water aerobics.”

By training with wellness experts, Camilla is helping to ensure that she is swimming, rowing, and thriving for decades to come.

Coping and Counteracting

Eleven years ago, Sam Wax was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Even before he could feel the effects of the disease, Sam and his wife, Barbara, started planning for the future.

The couple quickly realized that they would need an alternative to their single family home as they aged. “I think we looked at every residence in the area,” Sam recalled. “The more we looked at Five Star, the more we knew that it met our needs and just felt right.”

Since moving, the Waxes have found the medical services available on site invaluable. “The Wellness Center here has been a godsend,” he said. “I can’t imagine how difficult it would be if my wife still had to drive me to all of my doctor’s appointments. Now, I just take an elevator.“

While the medical offices on site are convenient, Sam attests that the most incredible service offered at Five Star is the physical therapy. Regular physical therapy helps Sam to counteract the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

“After working with the therapists, I feel 110 percent better. It helps to reduce the stiffness so much,” Sam said. “And Kathleen and all her staff are just absolute gems to work with.”

A Volunteer Gets Some Help

In his role as a volunteer for the Jewish Social Service Agency, Roy Lunitz became familiar with Five Star and had visited the community for training sessions several times. During one of his visits, he met Kathleen and shared his own diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease.

“I was shocked and very worried when I found out that I had Parkinson’s disease,” Roy explained. “Now I realize that I have to make the best of it and get the best care I can to prolong my ability to do things on my own.”

When Kathleen suggested that Roy try Five Star’s aquatic therapy program, he was initially hesitant. While he swam for years, his recent visit to a nearby pool had been disconcerting. “I really couldn’t keep my ahead above the water, and I was just dismayed,” he said.

Now that he is a part of Five Star’s aquatic program, Roy is getting the exercise he needs to manage his condition in a safe environment. “I’m terrible impressed by this program,” he said. “I feel so fortunate that I was able to connect with this wonderful community and this terrific program.”

Kathleen explained that while there are many local programs for Parkinson’s disease through the National Capital Area Parkinson’s Foundation, there are no other aquatic programs. “I did a little research, and I got a certification to teach an aquatics class for Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders. So this just started as a pilot a few months ago,” she said.

For Roy, the aquatic therapy has helped him both manage his symptoms and get stronger. “I am so grateful for the help this program has given me,” he concluded. “I am using muscles that I hadn’t used in years, and I know I will get stronger as I keep doing this.”

Whether they just need a little help remaining strong as they age, or they have to manage a serious diagnosis, Five Star residents and the general public alike can turn to the physical therapists at Ageility. With the help of these therapists, senior clients are healing and growing—getting stronger, getting better and getting tougher—every day.

By Christy Brudin


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