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Therapy Pool Is Newest Highlight of Foxdale Village Wellness Center

by on April 21, 2016 6:00 AM

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The residents of Foxdale Village, a continuing care retirement community on Marylyn Avenue in State College, are diverse in their ages, physical abilities and needs. But whether they are newly retired and active or utilizing assisted living, skilled rehab or skilled nursing, they can all benefit from Foxdale Village’s expanding Wellness Center and therapeutic programs.

Within Foxdale’s pristine 21-acre campus is a wellness center, which features an exercise studio, stationary exercise equipment, an aquatic therapy pool, and structured classes for building strength, balance and flexibility.

Danielle Duvall, Wellness Programs Supervisor, has been building the program at Foxdale Village for the past 21 years. The newest addition to the program is the aquatic therapy pool which opened in November 2015. The pool has quickly become a centerpiece of the Wellness Center, helping Foxdale Village residents of all ages and physical needs achieve new levels of mobility and fitness.

“Our whole program, from our structured classes in the exercise studio to aquatic therapy in our new pool, is focused on functional fitness,” Duvall says. “Our end goal always is for our residents to maintain or increase healthy physical function when they are outside of the Wellness Center.”

Each aspect of the new pool was designed with health and therapeutic benefits in mind. The width -- rather than the length -- of the pool goes from shallow to deep, creating walking lanes and class activities that use the buoyancy of the water to gradually give individuals more ability to move on their full body weight.  A built-in bench runs the length of the pool, allowing residents to work on hip mobility. “The buoyancy and pressure of the water helps us work muscles and joints in a way we can’t on land,” Duvall says. “We use it as a stepping stone back to higher function on land. We’re using that change in depth to strengthen their muscles to become more and more functional as they come back to gravity.”

For residents in wheelchairs, the pool is also equipped with a entrance ramp, thus providing access to those who might not otherwise have access to aquatic exercise and therapy. “Though they may not have mobility,” says Duvall, “simply being immersed in the pool has significant health benefits.”


Danielle Duvall is the Wellness Programs Supervisor at Foxdale Village, where she has been building the program for more than 20 years.

Also special to the pool is a water bike, situated in a custom-designed alcove of the pool. The circular motions made with the legs while using the bike promotes production of synovial fluid, which reduces friction in the knees. That combines with the hydrostatic pressure of the water to further promote knee flexibility and overall mobility.

Duvall explains that immersion therapy requires the cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems to work harder to function. The respiratory system, for example, is working 60 percent harder in water to draw air into the lungs than it does on land. “It’s a really unique and exciting form of exercise that allows us to get those three systems to benefit without having to move,” she says.“People who have been limited to wheelchairs for a long time can come into the pool and know that they are getting a benefit.”

Continues Duvall, “The main function of the pool design is built to maintain or regain function, by progressing from buoyancy to less buoyancy, less body weight to more body weight and then building function as we go,” Duvall says. She calls this going from “water legs” to “land legs” and the pool works in conjunction with a variety of other activities in the center.

Similarly, one of the biggest goals of the Wellness Center exercise staff, whether in the pool or the studio, is to prevent falls and, if they do happen, minimize the risk of injury. Says Duvall, “although it may sound simple, one of the most impactful things we can do for our residents is to help them be able to get down on the floor and get back up again, so that if they fall they can pick themselves back up. We also focus on a variety of push-up techniques so that they can brace themselves in the event of a fall.”

The continuum of Foxdale’s integrated wellness program has often shown tangible successes. For example, one resident in her 90s traveled to Peru last year and climbed Machu Picchu. Another resident, who had not traveled in years, trained successfully to be able to go on cruise. Foxdale’s oldest resident, at 106-years-old, is also an active participant in pool therapy and personal training programs.

Aquatic therapy helps Foxdale Village residents improve mobility and gain other health benefits.

 

Duvall is now focused on the latest Parkinson Disease research that will benefit Foxdale Village residents, as well as residents throughout the Centre region. Currently she is working with the Parkinson Wellness Recovery Program (PWR!), a program developed by Dr. Becky Farley of the University of Arizona. Representatives of PWR! will join Duvall and her staff at Foxdale Village this August to conduct a Training and Certification Workshop for therapists and instructors throughout the Centre region.  For more information about the program and to enroll, visit www.pwr4life.org, or email Duvall at [email protected].

“Whenever we give a person part of their life back that they have been missing, that is really amazing,” Duvall says. “Just watching physical functions return and watching people regain independence is deeply rewarding.”

 

A not-for-profit Quaker-directed continuing care retirement community, Foxdale Village offers residents personal freedom with the convenience of maintenance-free living in 148 cottages and 57 apartments with a wide range of floor plans. It also includes an on-site health center with personal care, skilled nursing and memory care. Wellness is at the center of Foxdale Village’s mission for its residents.

To learn more about Foxdale and residency options, visit www.foxdalevillage.org or contact the Residency Planning Office at (814) 272-2146 or toll-free (800) 253-4951.

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