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The Importance of Friendship in Senior Living Technology Making Life Better for Seniors Starting an Exercise Program After Age 60

Greetings from The Community at Franklin Park’s Administrator

It’s been a busy year for the Health Center at Franklin Park as we continue to enhance the community. Not only do we have a new secured memory care neighborhood, but we have installed new furniture throughout the building. Everyone likes the new look, the residents however are particularly fond of the new furniture in their living rooms and the new artwork displayed throughout the community. The residents have been keeping busy as well. On a regular basis a number of residents participate in the work therapy program, which allows them to use their skills to help out around the community and get paid for their work. The Work Therapy Program helps residents stay active, engaged and creates a sense of pride in their community. The jobs include working in the resident store, taking care of our housecat Blue, and

SPRING :: 2017

calling numbers at resident bingo. Other residents just enjoy participating in daily activities such as our happy hour events, which feature music, food and visits from the children of Bessie’s Hope community. On special occasions we get a visit from members of the media like Dave Aguilera, from local CBS Channel 4.

respite care, and a secure memory care neighborhood. If you haven’t seen the new Franklin Park yet, we hope you’ll stop by this summer to visit and take a tour. To learn more about The Community at Franklin Park please call 303-832-9323 or visit us online at .

Everyone at Franklin Park is looking forward to the spring and summer months when we can begin to take advantage of the nice weather to host a barbeque, take in a Colorado Rockies game, and visit with family and friends. The Community at Franklin Park is ideally located in the heart of downtown Denver, offering affordable independent living with 92 apartments that have some of the best views in the city. The Health Center at Franklin Park offers skilled therapy, hospice,


Jane Runge, The Community at Franklin Park Administrator

For Seniors, a Friendship a Day Keeps the Doctor Away! Throughout our lives maintaining social connections is necessary for physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. For seniors, social bonds are more important than ever, but too often social networks begin to shrink just when they are needed most. By choosing to live in a senior living community residents are surrounded by a network of friends, family and peers. Activities, events, entertainment and mealtimes make it easy to meet new people and when living on a senior campus or in a community setting, friends and neighbors are close by therefore eliminating the transportation barrier that causes many seniors to feel isolated in their home. Social isolation can lead to unintended psychological and physical health risks. For example, depression, cognitive decline, impaired mobility, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and dementia. In addition, those who are socially isolated are less likely to be proactive about their health, leading to poor diet, decreased physical activity and a lower likelihood of seeking medical care. In American Baptist Homes of the Midwest (ABHM) communities like The Community at Franklin Park, seniors can create a lifestyle of their choosing and easily maintain or expand their social circles, increase interaction and prevent the consequences isolation can have on overall health. The social aspect of a senior community is one of the key benefits our residents receive during a stage of life when many experience social isolation. New friendships form every day across ABHM communities and are often the first thing residents mention when describing how their life has improved through community living. Says one longtime resident of Tudor Oaks Senior Living Community in suburban Milwaukee, a sister

community of The Community at Franklin Park, “It was scary leaving my home of 32 years to move here, but I’ve discovered that in the sharing of memories and the daily adventures of retirement, I’ve formed deep new friendships that bring me great joy. I find it impossible to clearly express the many blessings that are freely shared here each day, person-to-person and friend-to-friend.” Paulette Webb moved to ABHM’s Mountain Vista Community in Wheat Ridge, CO, a sister community to The Community at Franklin Park, during July of 2016 and said her new friendships have been an unexpected blessing. “I have made good friends here and really enjoy being social”. Paulette continues, “It’s something I didn’t even realize I was missing when I was living in my house, but now I don’t know how I lived without it!” Though they may initially feel reluctant to change, most seniors find moving to a senior living community transforms their overall quality of life. If you are experiencing social isolation, talk to a loved one about transitioning to a senior community in your area. Already living in an ABHM community and looking for more? Ask your community’s activity coordinator how you can get more involved in community life.

Technology At ABHM Communities,

Is Changing

Senior Living

For the Better

n his 18 years with American Baptist Homes of the Midwest (ABHM), IT Director Roger Hennen has seen technology transform the lives of residents, as well as the way ABHM communities manage and deliver care.


This transformation follows a trend across the senior living industry. Communities all over the country are adopting new technologies in order to create more efficient processes, provide more personalized care, and facilitate communication between families, providers and community staff. At ABHM, Roger spearheads IT initiatives and helps the senior living communities implement and adapt new systems that streamline care and enhanced resident experiences. For example, digital health records enable staff to more carefully monitor resi-

dents’ progress over time, while health information exchange systems simplify patient transitions between hospital stays, rehab and discharge. Even the dining services team has technology on their side, using software to manage dietary plans customized to the needs of each individual resident. Perhaps the most dramatic change has come from the residents themselves, and how they adapt to new technology. Roger states, “Today, many new residents arrive at our communities with laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones in tow. Eighteen years ago, that rarely happened, people just didn’t have the interest and some of the technology didn’t even exist.” He continues, “In my time with ABHM there has been a dramatic change, I see residents in their 80s using

a wide variety of digital devices and computer systems, it has become the new norm.” The use of technology has been especially lifechanging for residents who do not have family nearby. These new means of communication give residents the opportunity to talk face-toface with family and friends hundreds and even thousands of miles away. “The biggest thing now is social media,” says Roger. “I’m seeing more and more of it each week. Facebook, Instagram . . . residents are using social media to stay in touch with family.” For those who don’t own a smartphone, tablet or laptop, ABHM provides access to computers so residents can use FaceTime or Skype with distant family members. Over the last five or six years, the access and use of technology has become a routine part of daily life for residents and families. ABHM communities have Wi-Fi installed throughout all the common areas and in the health centers, networks for guests and visiting family to access and walk-up computer stations are available in each community for those who don’t have a personal computer. “People coming to our communities have grown accustomed to having access to technology,” says Roger. “It’s part of their lives.”

How to Start an Exercise Routine AFTER AGE If you haven’t made exercise a regular part of your life by the time you’re 60, you may think it’s too late. Fortunately, it’s not! Many people associate aging with physical decline that makes it difficult to exercise. In reality, physical decline is a by-product of not being active on a regular basis. And far from being too late to get started, adults over 60 actually stand to benefit from exercise even more than younger adults! Regular physical activity lowers your risk for almost every chronic illness, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and strokes. Exercise has also been proven to slow mental decline, improve mood, and increase your body’s ability to recover from injury or surgery. Increased strength and dexterity reduce the risk of falls, which are a leading preventable cause of senior hospital visits. With all these potential benefits, what’s stopping you? Here’s how to get started.


3. Consistency Over Intensity

You don’t need to run marathons to gain the benefits of regular physical activity. Even a daily walk is enough to see improvements in your overall health. The key to establishing an exercise routine at any stage in life is picking something that you can commit to doing consistently. Find something you enjoy and exercise won’t seem like such a chore.

4. Work with a Trainer A physical trainer can help you set realistic goals, find exercises that fit your body and limitations, and practice exercise safely. For example, lifting weights without proper training and guidance can risk injury. ABHM’s staff of physical therapists and trainers will work with you to design a customized fitness program that will help you reach your goals.

1. Get Approval

5. Know When to Stop

Before you start any kind of exercise program, it’s important to get clearance from your doctor. Check with your physician to make sure they don’t have any concerns about you participating in certain forms of exercise. Take any advice they offer seriously. A sudden change in activity level can be dangerous if you have a heart condition or joint problems.

When you push your body beyond what it’s used to, it’s normal to feel some soreness and discomfort. However, if you experience pain or illness during a workout, that’s a signal from your body that you should stop and rest or slow down. Warning signs include chest pain or pressure, dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, sharp joint pain, and racing or irregular heartbeat.

2. Start Small If exercise hasn’t been a regular part of your life, you’re not going to jump up off the couch and head off running down the block. Assess your physical fitness level to determine an appropriate starting point. Without knowing your baseline, it’s easy to overdo it and cause an injury. Take it slow and work up to a more strenuous routine.

With spring just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start a new exercise routine. There’s almost nothing better for your mental and physical health than spending time outside moving your body, so get out there and go! Wellness and Fitness programs are offered at all ABHM Communities, including The Community at Franklin Park. Contact our Wellness Director TJ Sherley today to learn more.

Health and Wellness Campus-wide

One of the most important elecare?” Well, we’re happy to anments for a healthy lifestyle is nounce that The Health Center staying active and exercising. will now be offering exercise The same holds true for those classes at The Residences, in long-term care - where exerFranklin Park’s independent livcise is an important aspect of a ing building located right next person’s wellness plan and door to the Health Center. wellbeing. Exercise helps peoFor the past three months ple stay strong and extend their Health Center has been workindependent lifestyle. In a longing on an initiative to expand term care setting, we measure the role of health, exercise, and independence in the form of wellness to the entire campus. Activities of The Health Daily Living or “I really enjoy teaching this Center wellwhat the inness proclass because everyone is dustry refers gram, which working hard and having to as ADLs. Exhas been sucfun. It’s a good group.” amples of cessfully opADLs include erating for nearly three years, some of the following: the abilled the way to developing a ity to get up and out of bed, to broader program for the whole walk to meals, and to get campus. Jane Runge, Commudressed on one’s own. nity administrator states, “We look forward to implementing The Wellness Program at the the new wellness program and Franklin Park Health Center improving the health of all our supports ADLs through residents.” strength training, stretching, and weight transfer training for Wellness classes will take place balance. You may ask, “what if on Fridays at The Residences. I’m not living in long-term The first classes will focus on

TJ Sherley, The Community at Franklin Park Wellness Director

joint mobility and strength training. Participants will use a variety of techniques and exercise equipment and learn multijoint exercises performed with the aid of a chair. During the class participants will receive other exercise information to help them continue working on their health and wellness goals outside of class. In addition to the fitness benefits, the wellness class also provides a nice opportunity for residents to socialize, while they are put through their paces by the class instructor, TJ Sherley, the Regional Wellness Director. The residents’ positive attitudes are one of the things TJ loves about teaching the class. “I really enjoy teaching this class,” he says, “because everyone is working hard and having fun. It’s a good group.” By expanding the wellness program we hope to improve residents’ strength, ADLs, and extend their ability to live independently for years to come.


The Community At Franklin Park 1535 Park Avenue Denver, CO 80218

The Community at Franklin Park is owned and operated by American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, a not-for-profit provider of senior health care since 1930.


The Community at Franklin Park is a faith-based, not-for-profit senior living community. Our mission is to create healthy Christian communities that empower older adults. We provide choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind and spirit.





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The Importance of Friendship in Senior Living Technology Making Life Better for Seniors Starting an Exercise Program After Age 60


Franklin Park Magazine Spring 2017  

Franklin Park Magazine Spring 2017

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