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The Shores Therapy Team: An Exercise in Collaboration

We are proud of our services and the great work environment found at United Methodist Communities at The Shores. Being a non-profit, faith-based community enables us to have a more deeply committed person-centered approach to living and care. On the clinical side, we are a Preferred Provider with local hospitals, and are rated 5 stars by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Our Therapy Department offers a full continuum of care from independent living to skilled nursing services.

The Shores provides sub-acute rehabilitative services for older adults who need a little extra time to heal after surgery, illness, or injury. Your loved one will experience professional therapy through physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy.

Two of our associates highlight our stellar therapy services. Jamie Guadagnino, our Rehabilitation Director, originally had a career plan in musical theater. However, issues with her voice led her to complicated surgery leaving her unable to speak for 2 years. While in the process of rebuilding her voice her career plans changed and she decided to become a speech therapist. Jamie chooses to work with seniors, not only because they are her favorite population to work with but also because she wants to provide them with motivation. She understands how frustrating it can be to lose an ability. Jamie states that “the residents are like friends and family. Our team is very fortunate because we not only help people maintain their independence, but we also build close friendships with the residents.” Jamie also said that “the focus is to provide a solid continuum of care for the residents. Karen’s goal is to assist residents who live in our community with maintaining their highest level of independence.” Constant collaboration with the rehab team ensures that therapy can quickly step in when even the most minor change in a resident’s ability presents itself. This is a key factor in preventing a decline and the need for increased care.

Our continuum of care serves residents throughout their lifetime. A great example of this is Norm, a 91-year-old resident. He is a retired physical education teacher who led an active life, including captaining a fishing boat. In 2018 he had spinal surgery and after recovering in sub-acute rehab, he decided it was time to move to The Shores with his wife Sue. Norm gives our rehab team 5 stars. He states, “it’s top-notch.”

Post-surgery he still struggles with his sense of balance. Although rehab has helped him, Norm continues to work with the therapy team on this issue. Currently, his focus is on steps since his daughter has lots of them in her home. This is important to him so he can visit her. Denise, the occupational therapist, has him using master steps so he can practice on his own. He recently successfully went up and down a flight on his own! Norm utilizes the fitness center three times a week with a standing appointment with Karen Cooper, our Exercise Physiologist. He believes that strength training is the key to staying independent longer.

Karen has 14 years of experience. UMC employs her full-time to ensure that the functioning and fitness of the assisted living residents are a priority. Karen identifies deficits in balance and gait that could potentially lead to a fall, then notifies The Shores therapy team if any of the residents have declined. Once outpatient therapy is completed at The Shores, a referral is made to Karen to follow up with their everyday fitness program.

Karen offers 1:1 sessions Monday- Friday or group exercise classes such as moving to the music, balance class, forever fit, and chair yoga.  She states that she loves it when residents say, “I’ve never worked out this much in my life” and describes the collaboration with Jamie as “seamless and effective.” All newcomers are highly encouraged to get a fitness baseline.

The assisted living fitness center consists of three cardiovascular machines ranging from a treadmill to NuStep Recumbent Bike, and four Keiser Hydraulic operated weight machines for upper and lower body strengthening. We also have wonderful technology to assist Karen in the fitness center. Through IN2L (It’s Never 2 Late), a touch screen interactive-based system, we utilize a technology called Virtusense and VSTbalance to help aid in fall prevention by detecting gait and balance deficits.

We have created a niche with post-rehab recoveries, orthopedic challenges, and preexisting conditions and are proud of our reputation within the community and what we offer our clients and residents. For 5 years straight we have achieved Great Place to Work certification and our expert and friendly staff reflects a culture of caring and serving others. Next time you visit The Shores we’d love to show you our fitness center and have you meet Jamie and Karen.

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