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Research Study Has Lasting Effects

1/28/2015

Casa de la Vista resident Warren Tune tests out an exercise machine.

Does a good gardener fertilize, water and prune petunias only until they’ve blossomed, leaving them to face the elements alone?

Of course not. The gardener continues to care for them because growth is a lifelong process.

The same is true for our bodies. That’s what residents discovered at Casa de la Vista and Fern Lodge in Redlands, California, through a two-year study by University of Michigan researchers.

Residents learned the importance of taking control of their own health as well as effective ways to do so. By incorporating Masterpiece Living, a successful aging program used in a number of ABHOW communities, researchers studied the impact of health and well-being initiatives among older adults.

Lifestyle choices shape 70 percent of physical aging and approximately 50 percent of mental aging, according to successful aging research by the MacArthur Foundation. Recognizing the importance of maintaining physical activity, Casa de la Vista leaders turned an office into a fitness center for residents and stocked it with eight NuStep exercise machines, a low-impact machine that makes exercise easier and more enjoyable for older adults.

“The equipment provided a tangible source of change in the community,” says Adrian Hernandez, a University of Michigan research assistant and intern during the study. “It’s changing the way people view aging. It’s empowering.”

Thanks to a grant written by Hernandez, the two communities recently received a $5,000 award from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a tribe of Serrano Indians in nearby Highland, to help pay for the fitness equipment.

Until now, the machines have been on loan. With the research program wrapping up, the loan period is also coming to an end. NuStep has donated two of the machines, but the remaining sit at a hefty $3,700 apiece. Residents are helping raise the funds themselves, though the $5,000 award is a huge help.

A wrap-up party was held at Casa de la Vista on Dec. 5 to celebrate the accomplishments of residents and team members. Dr. Toni C. Antonucci, the study’s lead psychologist, joined Linda Stowell, lifestyle coordinator for ABHOW, and Linda Coleman, vice president of resident services for ABHOW subsidiary Beacon Communities, in thanking and congratulating residents and team members for their hard work.

“It was truly Linda Stowell who ensured that participating residents benefited most from the fitness equipment,” Coleman says. “Linda played a significant role in empowering the residents through various Masterpiece Living activities.”

Hernandez is pleased the residents are being recognized for their hard work. “They’ve put a lot of effort in,” he says. “The pursuit for a better life is the ultimate form of empowerment.”

 

  Casa De La Vista is a part
  of Beacon Communities.
  To learn more
  about it, click here