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Article updated: 3/1/2013 8:08 PM

Engaging the aging for strength at Friendship Village


Jessica Enriquez is a self-proclaimed "fitness enthusiast" and a strong advocate of living a healthy lifestyle. As an exercise physiologist serving Friendship Village for Alliance Rehab/Senior Fit, Jessica is dedicated to helping residents become and/or remain fit so that they can enjoy an active and vibrant lifestyle.

In applying for a graduate program to earn her Masters in Occupational Therapy, Jessica designed the Engaging the Aging for Strength program for residents at Friendship Village. The eight-week program was developed to improve strength and cognitive ability while also educating residents on how fitness impacts their activities of daily living (ADL).

Engaging the Aging for Strength began with an extensive assessment of participants in areas including upper and lower body strength, cognition, and ability to complete ADLs. An exercise program was then designed for the participants to complete twice weekly for eight weeks.

Jessica worked with the eight participants during the program and then repeated her assessments at the conclusion. She reported that at the completion of the regime, participants showed an improvement in strength, function and ADL. Half of the residents improved their speed in solving cognitive mazes, and a vast majority gained confidence in accomplishing goals and controlling body movement and understanding how different exercises impact specific muscle groups.

"It has always been my driving force to help our residents gain their fitness goals, but to truly impact their lives I designed this class Engaging the Aging to Strength, to aid with ADLs. This enables them to do more things they like to do without any barriers, while educating them why and how these exercises are important for their individual goals," said Jessica. "I always like to find new and creative ways to impact the resident's quality of life and this was a wonderful opportunity for me to explore that."

Friendship Village is a leading Chicago continuing care retirement community offering a complete continuum of care including independent living garden homes and apartment homes, as well as assisted living, memory support, skilled care, and short- and long-term rehabilitation services. For more than 35 years, Friendship Village has been providing Chicago area seniors with exceptional retirement living options.

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