Maximizing Independence As We Age

Seniors exercising. Maximizing independence as we age.

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Our individual definition of wellness and independence changes as we age. For some seniors, independence is still being able to drive. For others it is being able to participate in outings with friends or still participate in a favorite exercise program.

As independence levels change, Lynne Furlough, campus director at South Bay in Mount Pleasant, said, “It is important to encourage and support the individual where they are in their unique journey and to help them both attain and then maintain their own maximum level of independence.”

Furlough said that South Bay offers a personal trainer in its independent living community who will meet with residents to develop an individualized wellness plan.

“Together, the resident and wellness director determine goals important to the resident’s quality of life and after completion of an assessment create an individual exercise program focused on meeting their goals,” she said, adding that “It is always important for the resident to remain active, whether that means going to the pool or gym or just getting outside for a walk every day.”

South Bay offers a wide range of fitness activities, including mobility classes, dance classes and everything in between. They also offer plenty of outings off campus for residents to be able to get away and exercise their independence while out and about in the community.

Furlough said that when residents take control of their own decisions and wellness, she sees a major confidence boost: “It’s a dignity issue to be able to still maintain a maximum level of independence.”

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Many residents find great joy in being involved in other aspects of the South Bay community.

“When a resident finds out that his or her friend will be moving into the memory care or skilled nursing units, for example, they usually become involved in some way. We are a family, and we all want to take care of each other.”

In fact, one independent living resident plays piano in the memory care unit.

“Staying engaged – for some people in memory care that is independence, and we like to encourage that as much as possible. And, of course, giving empowerment to our wonderful independent living residents who want to help,” Furlough said.

South Bay has the potential to serve more than 300 residents across all levels of senior living, including independent living as well as short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care in the community’s Shem Creek Health Center. Expansion is on the horizon for each level, Furlough said, pointing out that “Eventually, we will have well over 400 residents.”

No matter the number of people living at South Bay, Furlough said it will be the individual who will always matter the most.

“We strive to maximize the quality of life of our residents here,” she said. “Independence is key to life satisfaction, and we recognize that independence may look different from one individual to another. We have a team of trained staff members attuned to recognize even minimal changes in our residents’ level of independence and function and are always employing ways to maximize their independence while recognizing their individual goals for quality of life.”

For more information on South Bay at Mount Pleasant and Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay, visit www.southbayatmountpleasant.com or call 843-936-2800.

By Theresa Stratford

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