Meet Bethany Clark and Frank Willet
Q: Can you please share the initial vision for the Heinz-Willet Center for Well-being?
A: Frank Willet is a gentleman in our community who had a vision to create a place where older adults throughout the community could come and take charge of their health. He saw the need for a place that could support active aging and increased independence, and set about making it happen.
Before the center opened, the only on-campus fitness option for the residents of Good Samaritan Society was a few exercise classes and group activities. And, while the surrounding Mountain Home community does have a few fitness centers, none of them cater specifically to seniors. Because the Center is available to Good Samaritan Society residents and the outside community, seniors throughout the area now have a place to work-out independently, on their own schedule.
"The HUR equipment is superior to anything else in town. I've tried other gyms and never stuck with it. At a normal gym, nothing is set up for you, but here the equipment adjusts automatically to my settings and helps me get the maximum benefit. Since using the HUR equipment I have better balance, strength and stamina."
~Amy McGoldrick, community member of Mountain Home, AR
Q: What has been the response since opening the center?
A: There is a constant stream of Good Samaritan Society residents and seniors from the surrounding community exercising on the HUR equipment, taking a class, or attending a seminar. We believed that creating a place for seniors to exercise would lead to increased activity and greater independence throughout the Good Samaritan Society campus. This has happened. Our residents are more involved in events and activities than ever before and tell us all the time that because of exercising on the HUR equipment they have increased strength and stamina to participate in the activities they love.
We also receive quite a few people every week who stop in and want to check it out. They've heard about the Center from their friends or neighbors and want to see what the buzz is all about. Perhaps most impressively, our outpatient program has grown by 300%
Q: That's a dramatic increase! How has the center supported that growth?
A: We were already supporting an outpatient program before the Center was built. However, there wasn't a lot for outpatient therapists to work with. The therapists did all their OPT treating on an open floor with stand-alone exercises.
The Center for Well-being has given the therapist and their patients more possibilities for a much greater outcomes! Therapists love the HUR equipment because it's effective while being incredibly user-friendly and non-intimidating for their patients. The patients love that the equipment was designed with their needs in mind. Some of the pieces allow them to work on just one leg or one arm, strengthening the body while taking care not to re-injure themselves. Other gyms in our community just don't have these options, and the word has spread. Frank's vision has become a reality.
"We love how easy the HUR equipment is to teach and how easy it is for the patients to use! Being able to work on one arm or leg at a time makes it easy to customize a training program for each patient regardless of their individual limits or abilities. We believe we are able to do more as a therapists because of the HUR equipment."
~ Ward Therapy Team
Q: What happens when people are discharged from outpatient therapy? Can they continue coming to the center to train?
A: Yes! When someone is discharged from outpatient therapy we offer them a three-month free membership to the center. Because they've already been trained and set-up on the HUR equipment, they can come in anytime and work out independently. As they continue to get stronger, they don't want to give that membership up and soon become paying members.
For example, we have one couple that comes in together because the husband is in outpatient therapy. While her husband works with his therapist, she works out independently. They love the HUR equipment because although they are at very different physical ability levels, they are still able to use the same machine. They tell me all the time how thankful they are to have a place in town where they can both get the support they need to stay active and independent.
"Since using the HUR equipment my back feels better and I am able to walk longer with less discomfort. I have more toning in my legs than ever before. Having gym equipment that is made for us [older adults] and remembers our workout makes it easy to use. I can complete my workout in a short time and it is now a part of my morning routine."
~ Barb Clark, Resident at Good Samaritan
Q: What has the response been of Good Samaritan Society - Mountain Home residents who are not in therapy?
A: Residents and community members are in here all the time. In fact, our residents are starting to show up earlier and earlier so they can get their workout in before it gets crowded! Everyone who wants to exercise here has an initial evaluation with a therapist who gets them trained and set up on the equipment. As soon as they realize how user-friendly the equipment is, they are hooked and tell all their friends. I asked one of our community members who comes in to train every day why she chose our center. She said, "its because of the equipment. I've tried other gyms and never stuck with it. With this place, I just love to come."
The past 6 months have been remarkable, and based on how enthusiastic residents and community members are, I expect the next 6 months to be even better.