Crossroads Hospice patient Beverly Howell has been a fitness enthusiast all her life. At the tender age of 94, she knows that staying active is one of the best ways to keep feeling and looking your best.
It’s something Beverly takes very seriously as she is always encouraging her friends and fellow residents to get more active and keep moving. By staying more active, people can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, as well as certain forms of cancer. In addition, the increased movement can reduce pain associated with arthritis. With regular exercise, older adults can improve balance, flexibility, strength, endurance and stay healthy longer.
“Beverly is very adamant in spreading the word about how important it is for senior citizens to exercise regularly,” says Crossroads Hospice social worker Teesha Kelow. “So we weren’t surprised when we asked what her perfect day might be, that she would want to share her ultimate gift with her fellow residents.”
The effort is part of Crossroads’ ultimate gift program. Its goal is to bring to life a patient’s vision of what the perfect day might be.
Sharing an Ultimate Gift
Recently, Teesha arranged to have Beverly lead a special fitness class to help impress upon her fellow residents the importance of staying fit.
Sitting in her chair at the front of the room, Beverly, assisted by Teesha, encouraged a group of about a dozen of her fellow residents add staff to get moving, raising their arms and legs in a rhythmic pace as Beverly led the way.
“It was very exciting for her,” Teesha said. “If it was up to her, her perfect day would be leading everyone through their exercise drills every chance she could get. She’s very committed to the idea that regular exercise is the best way to your mind and body young and she wants to share that gift with everyone she knows.”
That’s a commitment that the staff at the Riverdale Assisted Living facility in Memphis take very seriously, as well, according to Teesha. Each morning, from Monday through Friday, residents are encouraged to participate in a series of exercise sessions to help get them moving and help keep them mentally alert. The classes range from Zumba to low-impact aerobics to sitercize, which involves a variety of exercises that participants can do while sitting down.
”Beverly is probably their biggest source of encouragement,” she said.
A Perfect Day
Afterwards, Beverly and her fellow residents shared a healthy snack of fresh fruit and water to help restore their energy quickly. After all, as Beverly well knows, a nourishing diet plays an equally important role in maintaining a healthy mind and body – at any age.
“You could tell from her smile at the end of the session that she really enjoyed this ultimate gift,” Teesha said. “It was a thrill and honor to be able to make it happen.”
The Gift of a Day program is designed to give each patient the chance to have one perfect day. Each event is as unique as the individual patients.
To learn more about how Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care supports terminally-ill patients, please call 1-888-564-3405.
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