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Cutting-edge program uses exercise to treat Parkinson’s disease

By: Country Meadows |

A Country Meadows resident uses his cane much less these days, despite Parkinson’s disease. He credits his improved mobility to a new exercise program offered at Country Meadows Retirement Communities—OhioHealth’s Delay The Disease (DTD).

The nation’s leading Parkinson’s disease fitness program, DTD is designed to optimize function and restore independence to individuals living with the illness. Research in the area of Parkinson’s disease indicates that exercise is key to improve self-confidence and independence, decrease the risk of falls, minimize fatigue, reduce rigidity and improve mobility.

Country Meadows of Hershey Fitness Director Shari Pichini leads a participant in a Delay The Disease class exercise.

“A gentleman walked into the fitness room who typically uses a double cane to get around. I was surprised because he had no cane!” exclaims Vi Dao Schultz, fitness director at Country Meadows of Wyomissing. “He didn’t need the canes because he walked independently, thanks to improvements from participating in these classes.”

“Delay the Disease offers a very exciting opportunity for people who have difficulty with movement,” says Kim Eichinger, executive director of dynamic living-Country Meadows. “Anyone can benefit from the classes, and our fitness directors incorporate a lot of the concepts into residents’ everyday exercise classes.”

Country Meadows Retirement Communities licensed four of its campuses to offer this life-changing fitness, mobility and wellness program. Classes are free of charge, open to everyone and meet twice a week at Country Meadows campuses in Wyomissing, Hershey, Mechanicsburg and Bridgeville, Pa. The hour-long classes meet twice weekly for 12 weeks. (See below for class contact information.)

In Central Pennsylvania, Country Meadows is the only location currently offering DTD classes. Participants have experienced improved mobility, posture, balance, handwriting, speech volume and a reduction in daily functional challenges. The classes are all about fun and joy!

“This is a very inclusive program which offers exercises for focal development, gait and strength building as well as brain work exercises to improve fine motor skills, flexibility, voice volume and strength training,” says Dao Schultz, adding that participants share their goals which are incorporated into the class.

At the end of each class, time is provided for participants to interact with each other to ask questions, compare symptoms and glean advice.

While DTD is designed for persons with Parkinson’s, the program offers benefits for everyone and modifications are made for all ability levels. “One of the exciting things we’ve found is that the exercises are something our care team can use for other residents, too, to aid with their mobility,” says Eichinger.

Country Meadows is looking into plans to license additional campuses to offer DTD classes.

Delay The Disease at Country Meadows Class Information (Pre-registration required)

Country Meadows of West Shore (Mechanicsburg)
Classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.
Contact: Renee Harlow, Fitness Director
717-975-3434, ext. 60505

Country Meadows of Hershey
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:45 p.m.
Shari Pichini, Fitness Director
717-533-6996, ext. 40119

Country Meadows of Wyomissing (Reading)
Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m.
Vi Dao Schultz, Fitness Director
610-374-9966, ext. 65235

Country Meadows of South Hills (Pittsburgh)
Mondays and Wednesdays at 1 p.m.
Joyce Gross, Fitness Director

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