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Experts say that exercising one’s mind and body at any age is beneficial for an individual’s health and helps lead to a longer and more vibrant life. Those are just some of the reasons why Presbyterian Village North is offering courses in April and May through Wellness University, a three-month program with 30 classes covering all aspects of wellness in a college course format. As part of the program and in honor of national Parkinson’s Awareness Month, the community will also raise awareness about Parkinson’s. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is not only healthy but is also a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and daily living activities.


“Residents at Presbyterian Village North lead very physically, emotionally and spiritually active lives, and I commend our entire team for coming up with new and interesting ways to keep older adults engaged and involved,” said Ron Kelly, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “Wellness University is an extremely creative and comprehensive program that allows residents to choose their courses, get grades and even graduate. By combining well-researched physical, spiritual and nutritional components with a little fun, we end up with tremendous participation and fantastic results. I am looking forward to seeing what our residents accomplish during this year’s university on our campus, and I am thrilled that Parkinson’s awareness has been a part of the curriculum.”


Wellness University has been designed to help residents learn more about the five aspects of wellness: intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and vocational. Upon the start of the program, residents are asked to fill out a personal wellness checklist, which will help them analyze their current health state and outline areas that may need improvement. From there, the residents can gather an idea of what activities or programs they would like to partake in to help them reach new health goals.


Lisa Englander, independent life enrichment manager of Presbyterian Village North, has worked diligently to provide an array of wellness activities and outings that meet varying interests, while exposing residents to new things as well. The community recently held a Greek mixerso sorority and fraternity members could show off their memorabilia, enjoy happy hour and appetizers and reminisce about their college days and Greek life. They started canned food items for the North Texas Food Bank as part of this event and will deliver them in late May. There will also be cooking classes, like the Edible Cookie Dough course on Tuesday, May 19th at 3:00 p.m., to show how to make cookie dough that is safe to eat.


Other activities include social events like Yappy hours, historic tours and restaurant outings, games that maintain mental acuity like Mahjong and bingo, opportunities to create artwork including no-sew wreaths and mosaic crosses, devotionals covering different spiritual topics and effects on our lives, as well as tutorial classes designed to help residents with online banking, creative writing, genealogy, online shopping and iPads.


“Wellness is so much more than just eating the right things and exercising,” said Kelly. “We must be mindful of all the elements that contribute to feeling well and fulfilled. It is rewarding to hear how much the residents enjoy the programs, tutorials and health opportunities we present to them. Lisa and Shannon have put a lot of effort into planning activities, outings and educational opportunities that benefit the residents’ entire wellbeing. They do a wonderful job of providing a well-rounded experience to each resident within our community. It is a pleasure to see residents living such active, meaningful and healthy lifestyles. They are certainly an inspiration to us all.”


During the Parkinson’s clinic, physical therapist Paula Watson and speech-language pathologist Felicia Smith led a discussion on the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) BIG and LSVT Loud programs. LSVT is one of the most widely practiced treatments for speech complications associated with Parkinson's disease (PD). It focuses on increasing vocal loudness and has an intensive approach of one month. LSVT BIG is a standardized treatment protocol that will teach you how to move to your full potential, help you to establish lifelong habits of BIG movement and empower you to improve your quality of life with everyday activities.


“We observe national holidays that raise awareness, participate in programs for seniors like Wellness University, Active Aging Week and Texercise, and we add new fitness classes to our regularly scheduled ones to allow residents the chance to try new things, build their knowledge of medical matters and develop healthy habits,” said Shannon Radford, wellness director for Presbyterian Village North. “Last year we tried out laughter yoga for a period of time, and now we are delving into kickboxing. This is the first year we have participated in Texercise and the third year we have participated in Wellness University. There’s always something to do at PVN. Our residents wake up every day and look at their wellness calendar, their activity calendar and special programs and try to narrow down what their day’s activities will entail.”

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