Birchwood is Senior Services’ newest day program for people who are experiencing minor changes in physical health or memory as they age. Whether you are living with memory changes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or other physical changes, Birchwood is where people like you come to experience more in life. For instance, John is a Birchwood member who has had knee surgery and a stroke that affected his ability to walk and use his left hand. John says, “The fitness room is great! I choose to exercise on the NuStep machine each day I attend and the special glove holds my left hand in place because I lost my grip. My goal is to burn 100 calories each time!
One thing my wife and I noticed is that since I have been exercising, my blood sugars are not as high as they used to be. I feel there is definitely a benefit to exercise and better health.”
John continues, “So many different activities are offered every hour each day so you can literally
pick anything you are interested in. There are some physical and mentally challenging activities along with fascinating discussion groups. The topics that are discussed are presented by a skilled facilitator and they keep things on topic. The staff here are so helpful and that includes even using the bathroom facilities. I need some help due to the weakness in my left arm and problems with walking. They provide just the right amount of assistance that I just can’t get anywhere else.”
When asked to list two benefits about attending Birchwood, John replied, “So many people don’t think they can do things anymore after a stroke or with Parkinson’s. I want them to realize that you can do so much more than you think you can do and you will see that at Birchwood!” John also feels that Birchwood “builds confidence, self esteem and positive attitude reinforcement!”
Genny is another Birchwood member. She beams, “It is encouraging to know that the friends
I have met at Birchwood really understand things. I feel so connected to this group! Before
I started Birchwood, I used to feel I was caught in a trap and felt that I couldn’t get out. Things in my life used to feel very chaotic and there was no real structure. I couldn’t manage day to day things too well. I would just hang around the house feeling bored. That all changed once I started attending here. Everybody gets along so good. Everybody genuinely likes to help new people feel comfortable and included. The structure here is great and it keeps me busy with interesting things. You are with people who have similar problems and we learn from each other how to live with it the best we can.” Genny adds, “The programs that I really enjoy are the ones where I have to think.
I love the teams and the competition with each other that challenge our brains. We laugh and it is so fun. No one puts anyone down. This place definitely helps build my confidence and self esteem.”
To encourage someone to try Birchwood Genny would ask, “Are you happy in the situation you are in? If not, I know the perfect place you can go to keep your dignity and be where people understand what you are going through.”
Another person who attends Birchwood is Carl. He states, “The programs give me so much new information. I have a Doctorate in Education and Business and I really enjoy being able to offer my opinions in interesting, thought provoking, and creative discussion groups. There are so many things that you just can’t do at home but you can do them here, regardless of your situation. You meet others and develop friendships with people you have common interests and challenges with.”
Carl adds, “My wife likes to have a day alone and it is a good change for me to get out of the house at least one day per week. I attend Birchwood because there is good fellowship with the people and each day I get better acquainted with them. There is a variety of things to participate in and it gives me something very interesting to get involved in.”
“It is a very spacious, nice friendly place,” Carl describes, “I enjoy being able to make my own decisions about what programs and activities I attend. You can come out and explore Birchwood, try it out and then pick your own days and times that work best for your schedule. You can also get a ride here and back home if needed.”
To learn more about Birchwood and two free trial days, call Senior Services at 633-3700.
Attendance may be covered by some insurance plans or other funding options may be available for eligible members.