Story #19

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Catherine M. -- "I'm not a sit-down kind of person!"

BronxWorks Morris Innovative Senior Center

At age 84, Catherine has a lot of energy. No longer working, she’s been spending most days over the past five years at BronxWorks’ Morris Senior Center, just four blocks from her home. In recent years, though, Catherine has had her share of negative health experiences: a couple of strokes, episodes of vertigo requiring hospital visits, and uncomfortable gastritis.

Morris started innovating by providing expanded wellness programs and opportunities to seniors even before its designation as the Morris Innovative Senior Center (ISC) about a year ago.

And what a difference it’s made for Catherine! She was thrilled with the addition of a small gym two years ago and the expansion of the fitness program earlier this year. As she points out, “I’m not a sit-down kind of person!”

“When I come to the gym, I feel great!” Catherine exclaims. Since beginning a daily exercise routine, she has increased her strength and been able to moderate her health issues. Catherine does strength and cardio exercises with Lory Beaudoin, the Morris ISC’s wellness specialist, and participates in other fitness and yoga classes with athletic instructor Theresa Racine, all of which helps increase her mobility and improve a chronic shoulder problem, as well as overcome the balance problems she’s faced since her strokes.

Catherine was one of the first to become a regular at the gym, and Lory notes that she participates in nearly every single class offered. Catherine is also thrilled that since beginning Lory’s recommended exercises to prevent vertigo, she hasn’t had to go to the hospital for that issue.

Unlike many, Catherine doesn't exercise to lose weight – in fact, she proudly says that she actually put on three pounds of muscle with all the strength she’s gained! Catherine incorporates exercise into every day whether she’s at the Morris ISC or not. On weekends, she admits that she’d be “miserable and cranky” if she didn’t make sure to get out for a walk or stretch while watching TV.

Lory stresses the importance of working one-on-one with the seniors in order to start with their current fitness level, understand any physical issues, and “progress them as they get better.” With many years of experience and training in the field and the right approach for this type of work, Lory is well respected by the Morris seniors. Catherine also enjoys participating in the seminars Lory offers on a variety of health and wellness topics. For example, she’s learned about food combinations to avoid in order to keep her gastritis from flaring up. “I’ve learned so much!” she marvels.

Catherine says, “I think it’s a blessing here; it really is. Thank God for BronxWorks for doing this for us instead of us sitting all the time.” She looks forward to continuing to build her strength and fitness in the Morris ISC’s fun, supportive environment. BronxWorks thanks our kind friends, partners, and supporters for enabling our seniors to improve their lives and futures here in the Bronx!

The BronxWorks Morris Innovative Senior Center is one of New York City’s eight new innovative senior centers and the only one in the Bronx. BronxWorks runs four Bronx senior centers and a senior services office, which are designed to meet seniors’ social, recreational, and health needs. The centers create a support system to help seniors live better lives and provide a variety of meals, activities, trips, and other services. Questions or comments? Send them to info@bronxworks.org.

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