Glen Cove seniors have been taking the time to beat the heat on Wellness Wednesday in Morgan Park. The Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation brings educators to demonstrate and teach wellness strategies there, with the goal of keeping resident seniors active and healthy each Wednesday throughout the summer.
Linda Torel, the lead physical therapist at the center, runs the cardiopulmonary program. She led the activities on July 27, which focused on balance.
“My passion is to prevent falls and a lot of times people do things and they get dizzy, which has to do with your cardiovascular system,” said Torel. “We talked about how to avoid getting lightheaded from positional changes.”
With balance and preventing falls being the topic, she demonstrated numerous balance improvement exercises and strategies. “I worked on a little bit of balance exercise based upon the questions that they asked,” she said.
Torel’s presentations are a favorite among the seniors. Mary Suddell, community liaison for the center discussed why Wellness Wednesday, which has gone on for the past eight years, has been so well received.
“Especially since Covid, we still can't do events inside the facilities, so we bring her [Torel] on the road to many different senior centers to let the community know about the programs and about us,” Suddell said.
Kathy Santucci, another liaison for the center said Wellness Wednesday is important to the community. “We care as much about the community, as we care for the residents that are already with us,” she said.
As many as 30 seniors can participate in Wellness Wednesdays. Many are in great shape for their age, which they maintain with the help of Wellness Wednesday which can include a variety of activities including meditation, dancing, and chair yoga. Another goal of the program is to stay proactive so that seniors aren’t visiting the center as patients.
“We try to do programs that are going to keep them healthy, so they don't come to us,” said Suddell.
“We’re trying to get people to continue to use their heart, their lungs, and their muscles, so they stay healthy and don't need me really in the inpatient setting,” Torel added.
Her activity on Aug. 3 focused on breathing and playing harmonicas for health. “I change the topics so they want to come back,” Torel explained, “and they enjoy having me back in.”
One of the advantages of Wellness Wednesdays is that all of the exercises taught there can be done right in the senior's homes, although they enjoy being out in the park on a Wednesday morning.
“What happens to a lot of their clubs that they're part of don't meet in the summertime, so this really helps them with that social aspect,” Suddell said. “It keeps them busy, it's for a purpose, you have a reason to get up and out in the morning. It's good for the soul.”
Caroline Rafensai recently joined the senior group. Although she does exercise at her home, she said Wellness Wednesday has been a big help physically and socially. “This is really good for me to be out,” Rafensai said. “After Covid and being isolated, this is really important. I have a stable bike at home. I have some videos that I watch because you really have to be conscious of strength and balance.”
Although Zoom and videos are useful, Rafensai said it's good to come to Morgan Park in the nice weather and meet people.
Senior Marina O'Brien added, “A lot of people don't know about it, but it's a really big help.”