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Take it from Someone Who Knows!

By Amy Kelly, Seasons Activity Coordinator & Monica Bissett, Seasons Program Manager.

Meet Annette: She enjoys keeping up on current events, family game nights, working crossword and jigsaw puzzles and having a good meal out with loved ones.

Meet Jim: He enjoys Wii bowling, playing Rummikub and Euchre and date nights with his wife where they enjoy good food and entertainment. He previously enjoyed skydiving and aspires to go again soon.

You may wonder what these two folks have in common. The answer is simple. They both attend the Senior Services Adult Day Program, now called Birchwood.

Annette joined Birchwood about a year a half ago and considers Birchwood staff and participants to be like her family. Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis can be painful and challenging for Annette at times, but she says she is “more active here” which helps relieve some of the pain she experiences. From daily physical exercise to trying new things and keeping active in the community, it is very important for older adults to move every day. After a day at the Loons game with the [Birchwood} crew Annette said, “I just had a great day. I am glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did something different.”

Jim has been a member of the Birchwood community for about 2½ years. Through the Participant Council he has become an integral part of enhancing and planning classes. He laughs and jokes, “I’m mouthy.” Jim takes ownership of how he spends his time at Birchwood. Living with Parkinson’s disease, he finds it important to learn and understand the benefits of each class that is offered. When talking about the physical exercise offered, Jim mentions that it “keeps me in shape” and that “the exercise keeps my body aware.” He also commented, “the cognitive aspect is good for me.” Birchwood members benefit by engaging in meaningful classes that focus on brain fitness, physical wellness, creativity and socialization. Jim shared, “When I first started coming here, I didn’t know who staff was and who the participants were. Everyone seemed to be on the same level. The staff become like your friends.”

The skilled Birchwood team works collaboratively with members to meet personal goals and enhance daily life. This encourages members to embrace their individuality through self-initiation and discovery. One of the most therapeutic aspects of Birchwood, according to Jim, is the socialization that he receives. He commented, “[Birchwood] is a social place. It opens up a whole new aspect of social life for people that cannot get out and do the things they used to. It means having a social life of your own.” Jim concluded by saying, “At first I thought I was coming here to give my wife some time to herself, but then I realized I needed this program. It’s a lot of fun here!”

Annette feels similarly. When asked what she would like the community to know about Birchwood and, Annette shared, “I don’t understand how any place could be better than this. Everyone is so caring.”

If after reading this you feel that you or someone you know may be interested in joining Annette, Jim and other Birchwood members, simply call 633-3700 for more information and to schedule a tour and free trial day. We look forward to meeting you!