Meet Denise Kuechenmeister
Denise is the Director of Community Life at All Saints Senior Living, an active adult community in Shakopee, Minnesota providing Assisted Living & Memory Care. When Denise came on board in February of last year, she noticed the facility's HUR equipment wasn't being utilized to its full potential and made participation a top priority.
Q: What are you doing in your community to increase interest and engagement in strength training?
A: The first thing I did is create a partnership with Physical Therapy. As a new Director of Community Life, I interviewed the residents. I spoke with a woman named JoAnn, who had been using the HUR equipment consistently, and learned that before coming to All Saints, JoAnn was an active participant in a variety of outdoor activities, including golf. Unfortunately, back trouble had robbed her of the ability to walk. Once discharged from therapy services she was determined to not only maintain her progress, but continue to get stronger. She started training on our HUR equipment and riding the stationary bike. JoAnn is now able to walk with a walker and was even able to meet her goal of climbing the stairs during a recent visit to her family home.
I realized that a bridge between Physical Therapy and ongoing training was key to increasing participation. I immediately started working on a system that would make it easy for our residents to naturally move from one program to the next. The HUR Smart Technology makes this easy. We set up a program based on the workout plan from the therapy team and can even report back on their progress. Now, entering our wellness program is simply the next step residents take after completing Physical Therapy.
Q: Are your residents' training sessions scheduled or are they allowed to come into the gym and train whenever they like?
A: Our residents do not have the capability to train independently, and so all training sessions must be scheduled. We believe scheduling is a key component of consistent participation. Before their session, we go to the resident’s homes to remind them of their session and accompany them to the gym. This adds an important layer of accountability.
“Nine times out of ten our residents are not going to visit the gym regularly on their own. So, we schedule it on their calendar and then support their follow through and progress.”
- Denise, All Saints
Q: You mentioned hosting Open Houses this year to increase gym participation so residents and their families can learn more about the wellness programs. Could you tell me more about this?
A: Family support is really important. I’m hoping that if family members understand more about the programs and equipment available to their loved ones, they will provide additional encouragement to participate. That’s what the open houses are about.
They are also an opportunity to demonstrate training with HUR equipment, give them a peek into our fall prevention and other wellness programs, and answer any of their questions and concerns. Fall prevention is, of course, really important to us. The HUR equipment is a key part of our fall prevention program but we also have stationary bikes, walking groups, and a wide variety of group classes. It’s my goal that through showcasing these options, we’ll continue to see a steady increase in participation.