Advice From Your Advocates

Ep. 20 - Let’s Get Physical – There’s no limit for your senior!

April 07, 2023 Attorney Bob Mannor Season 1 Episode 20
Advice From Your Advocates
Ep. 20 - Let’s Get Physical – There’s no limit for your senior!
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Show Notes Transcript

Rethinking health and fitness for seniors - it's saving lives! 

On this interesting and fun episode of Advice From Your Advocates, Bob sat down with Jennifer Joyner who is a Health and Wellness Program Coordinator at Valley Area Agency on Aging. Jennifer is also a certified Arthritis Instructor through the Arthritis Foundation and certified with Silver Sneakers as an instructor. She has been teaching the evidence-based disease exercise program to seniors across mid-Michigan. If there's anyone that knows the impact staying active can have on seniors, it's Jennifer Joyner. 

The Silver Sneakers program is a popular fitness program that offers fun and interactive classes for a variety of seniors throughout local senior centers and select locations like churches in other counties.  It's covered by insurance to keep costs away from the senior.

Advice From Your Advocates is hosted by Attorney Bob Mannor
Producer: Savannah Meksto
Assistant Producer: Samantha Cohen
Assistant  Producer: Gillian Rabine

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Mannor Law Group helps clients in all matters of estate planning and elder law including special needs planning, veterans’ benefits, Medicaid planning, estate administration, and more. We offer guidance through all stages of life.

We also help families dealing with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other illnesses that cause memory loss. We take a comprehensive, holistic approach, called Life Care Planning. LEARN MORE...

Announcer 0:00  
You're listening to advice from your advocates, a show where we provide Elder Law advice to professionals who work with the elderly and their families.

Bob  0:09  
Welcome back to advice from your advocates. I'm Bob Mannor, I'm a certified elder law attorney in Michigan. And this is a podcast where we focus on many issues relating to seniors and the aging industry, and those that work with seniors. And so I'm really excited today, I think we have a really exciting topic to cover. Our guest is Jennifer joiner, who works with the Valley area agency on aging. She works with the surface SilverSneakers as an instructor, which we're going to learn more about this little SilverSneakers already, I'm excited by the name of it, which is an evidence based disease exercise program to seniors. I love that description, evidence based disease exercise program. She's also a certified dementia practitioner, a diabetes path instructor and A Matter of Balance coach. Welcome, Jennifer, thank you for coming.

Jennifer  1:01  
Thank you for having me.

Bob  1:03  
So was that pretty accurate description? Do you have anything else to tell us about yourself? Before we start going through some of the questions I have for you?

Jennifer  1:11  
Yeah, that was pretty spot on. The Silver Sneakers. Were also on that's part of the arthritis exercise foundation. So yeah, they go hand in hand with each other. And those are really, really popular and fun classes at a lot of our local senior centers that that many folks attend.

Bob  1:33  
Very nice. So before we get into that, tell me a little bit more about yourself, what drew you to this area? You know, it seems like you definitely have a passion for working with seniors and working with fitness for seniors. What drew you to this area?

Jennifer  1:49  
Yeah, so my passion kind of came when I was younger, I lived in a small community, real close with my family, and I kind of watched, or I did watch my mom take care of her grandma. And then my grandparents were right there too. So just a close knit community. And then to see, you know, we were we grew up and that take care of each other and, and live long and as best as we can, but it does take a community to, you know, to prosper. So

Bob  2:24  
while I appreciate that background, I've always told people that when I was born, my parents were a little older, for at least for their generation for how old they were when I was born, and I was the youngest, and that they had a commitment to volunteer with a local or local group of religious retire, that they would often go and volunteer and help people out there. And of course, since I was the youngest, they dragged me along with all of that. So I was exposed to, you know, older folks from very early age and helping out and I think that definitely has an influence on, you know, the what you're interested in and what your passions are later in life. So that's very good, you know, background for this type of thing. So tell us more. He sounds like maybe SilverSneakers. If I'm getting this correct from what you just said, that's just one part of the overall senior fitness that you deal with. So tell us a little bit more about senior sneakers and really more about the whole program that you have through the valley area agency on aging.

Jennifer  3:26  
Yeah, so our agency we cover three counties, so Genesee Shiawassee, and Lapeer County. And for with my particular position, I'm in the Health and Wellness Department. And so I travel across the three counties to all of the pretty much all of the senior centers and provide the arthritis exercise SilverSneakers program. So a lot of folks with their insurance benefit, have SilverSneakers. Now, if they're not sure if they have it or not, we always encourage them to call the number on the back of their insurance card to see if that is part of their plan. And with with that plan with being SilverSneakers they're able to come to any class, there is no fee for SilverSneakers. And then also the arthritis exercise programs that we offer. There's no fee, either. I

didn't realize until you just said it that that was actually a Medicare benefit or insurance benefit.

Jennifer  4:25  
I don't know that it's Medicare. There's many different insurance like Blue Cross Blue Shield, a certain tear of it. So I definitely encourage them to call the number to see if that's part of their plan. Sometimes I think Humana might have a program similar to that. There's I'm just trying to think of the folks that attend our class. Some of them will say that they have Silver Sneakers and then there's a another one silver and fit, I believe don't really quote me on those exact words. but also with the SilverSneakers though some of the gym local gyms like Anytime Fitness, the different rec centers in people's communities like I know I'm in Lapeer County and the community center here has a swimming SilverSneakers class. And with that benefit, the person does not have to be a member of that said gym, they can they can show their SilverSneakers card or give them their the, you know, there's a specific number that they'll have. And they can attend that particular class because they are a SilverSneakers. Member.

Bob Mannor 5:39  
Nice. That's great. So now are the ones that you are an instructor for, are those usually at senior centers? Are you doing all throughout the various areas that you mentioned?

Jennifer 5:48  
Yeah, they're usually at the local senior centers. And then depending on where there's a need, like there, we've done them at different churches, okay, the church communities. But we've got to have at least 10 people that are interested in wanting to be committed, say for six weeks that they want to do this program for nice.

Bob Mannor  6:09  
Is it typically a six week program? Or is it an ongoing program, and it just has to be a minimum of six weeks?

Jennifer   6:15  
It's depends on the location. So right now, I teach an ongoing class at the Grand Blanc senior center every Tuesday and Thursday, from 10am to 11am. And then, at other centers, depending on the volume of folks that are coming, we'll, if it's a new, we haven't done it in a while there, then we'll plan it for six weeks, if we get a good turnout, and have that commitment from our seniors, then we look into making it an ongoing one. Great. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  6:48  
So now what if someone calls and for whatever reason they find out through their insurance? Or maybe they have traditional Medicare and a supplement instead of the Advantage Program? And they would like to participate? Is there a way they can participate in with in your classes for a fee or something like that?

Unknown Speaker  7:06  
There is no feet, and I don't check their insurance? Yeah, nope, they can, if they are interested in attending one of those exercise classes, they can call their local senior center. Okay, great, find out what day and time the class has been offered. And they can come and I even say, you know, you don't have to participate, you can just come and be an observer and see something that you feel would fit for you, especially maybe

Unknown Speaker  7:33  
the first time if they're nervous about it, they can just come and watch and, you know, then decide if they want to come back and participate those next time. Well, that's good to know that there's no cost to attend. So basically, the insurance benefit might be so that if it's through a local gym, they don't have to have that gym membership. Is that the idea? Yes, yeah. All right. So I know this is going to seem like an obvious question to you. But I don't know that everybody kind of thinks this through a lot. And sometimes it's easy to neglect. So can you talk a little bit about the importance of physical activity and physical, you know, fitness for seniors and having a senior wellness program? What are the benefits?

Unknown Speaker  8:18  
Yeah, so the benefits are, well, strength for one. And then in our particular classes, especially coming out of the pandemic, the socialization aspect of it is, has been huge. You know, we were we were isolated for so long. And now people are much more comfortable to be coming out to our classes, and just out and about, in general. Many of our seniors live alone. And so this is an outlet for them to come and, and to get some exercise. And if they're having trouble with their shoulders, or having just difficulty from sitting too much getting up out of their chair, then it's it's building that lower body strength so that they're able to move about just in everyday activities.

Unknown Speaker  9:07  
In my imagination, it might help with fall risk, balance issues, maybe even cognitive ability to have the exercise sometimes that might stimulate some, you know, continued cognitive or stave off some of the cognitive decline.

Unknown Speaker  9:25  
Yes, yes, absolutely. Absolutely. The balance and like you said, the cognitive we've, through some of my trainings through SilverSneakers, we've incorporated the coordination with our steps and moving our legs as well as our arms. And then I tried to incorporate asking folks, you know, think of the alphabet and what is your favorite letter or how many states are there while we're moving? And you can see the looks on some, some of our seniors faces, you know, many, pretty much all of them, enjoy it. But you can see, I've really got if I got to focus right now I'm moving and I'm having to talk at the same time and think of these states. So it's it's mind body and pretty insole. Two.

Unknown Speaker  10:14  
Very nice. Yeah, that's great. So now we've talked about your geographic area is Genesee, Lapeer Shiawassee. And for those that are for Michigan listening, that's going to be sort of lower Central Michigan, I guess we might call that still maybe sort of Northern southeastern Michigan, if you want to call it that another way of saying it, but it sounds like SilverSneakers is a program that exists much more widely than just in our three county area here.

Unknown Speaker  10:42  
Yes, I believe that's correct.

Unknown Speaker  10:45  
Okay. And so would you know, it would typically be to contact the Area Agency on Aging to find if they are outside of this region, and they're interested in finding something like this, would it usually be to contact the Area Agency on Aging?

Unknown Speaker  10:59  
Yeah, so I would encourage, if they're looking for, you know, for the senior centers, definitely their area agency on aging, if they're looking for more of like a fitness center, to maybe look to call their the number on the back of their insurance card, or to do a search for SilverSneakers. And in the area that they're at to see if there's anything local, that pulls up for them with that.

Unknown Speaker  11:27  
So for those listeners that don't know, Area Agency on Aging is a very well established, you know, and pretty much I know everywhere in Michigan is covered by an area agency on aging, I think it's actually nationwide, that's more of a, a program that's accepted throughout the country. And so no matter where you are, you're probably the you have access to an area agency on aging, and they have a variety of services that can help seniors and, and each one might have a different set that they worked on. But there's, there's gonna be some consistency too. So if you're not in the area, definitely check that out, be make sure that you have start developing a relationship and know what services are offered by your area agents and aging. Back to the fitness. Can you talk to us a little bit about fitness as sort of preventative care to prevent a you know, one of the things I'm always talking to folks about? As you probably know, I have lots of clients that are dealing with very serious long term care issues that, you know, a number of my clients probably will never be able to go home again, some of them are even in nursing homes for the rest of their life. And so I often talk to seniors, active seniors, and they say, Well, how do I make sure that doesn't happen to me, and I tongue in cheek, but it's not, it's only partially tongue in cheek, because it's actually very true. But it sounds funny is to say, Well, if you want to avoid going to the nursing home, don't break your hip. Don't fall down the stairs, don't slip on ice, don't, you know fall off the ladder reaching for the top shelf. You know, that's my advice for, for, you know, the best advice for staying out of a nursing home for the rest of your life is you know, get in front of it, you know, get get the help you need before you think you need it kind of a thing. And I think this is probably true from an exercise standpoint, too, that if you can sort of work on that balance and keep that balance, you have a much better chance of sort of preventing that next bad thing from happening.

Unknown Speaker  13:33  
Yeah, so the preventative part is, you know, just keep it there's a lot of truth behind if you don't use it, you lose it. Yeah. And and it's so true. And we've had many testimonies from folks that have gone through our programs, or our just our faithful, consistent ones, whether they've had it on the books to have their shoulder looked at or replaced. And maybe, you know, they went to go have their console for it. And you know, let's push this back, you're looking to be a little bit stronger, the range of motion seems to be a little bit better. So keep doing what you're doing. And not to say that they won't have that shoulder surgery down the road. But right at that time, it was pushed back. Same way with folks that do go through to have their knees replaced, or even their hips done. Their recovery time, I've been told that their recovery time is much quicker, if you will, depending on the individual, because they were strong going in to the surgery. So yeah, excellent point.

Unknown Speaker  14:41  
Those are those are excellent points. So how is your program and I you know, I probably could imagine or guests some ways, but why don't you just get to share with us how is it tailored to seniors versus just any other exercise program? How is this tailored to seniors? How was it to tailored to, to the folks that you work with.

Unknown Speaker  15:04  
So my the exercise programs that we provide, we start off in the chair there, they're mostly chair exercises, and then we do standing. So I start off, we do our warm up, sitting in the chair. And I always encourage people, no, this is your own journey, you're here because you want to be here, and to get yourself stronger. And so I always tell folks, you know, don't feel that you have to keep up with me or your neighbor next to you, this is just geared towards you. And we start off setting and then depending on the group, I kind of get a little assessment and see what mobility folks are at, if I've got a lot of people that are coming in with their walkers, then, of course, they won't be standing as long or maybe we'll do more more chair exercises. And also I try to inform people of how long we are standing. Because some people can't stand for like, nothing, like a minute or two minutes. And so if we've made it to five minutes standing, then I'll be sure to give them you know, hey, give yourself a pat on the back. You've stood for five minutes, and maybe you haven't been able to do that for a while. And then each week, I try to increase that stand time. And overall their stamina certainly does increase too.

Unknown Speaker  16:28  
Yeah, very good. Great. What about we have a lot of our clients, or at least the you know, someone in their family is dealing with someone with dementia or Alzheimer's? Do you feel like this would be appropriate for folks that are dealing with dementia or Alzheimer's? Could they still participate in a program like this?

Unknown Speaker  16:48  
Yeah, so the arthritis exercise programs, I actually do have a couple of folks that have dementia that have been coming with their caregivers or loved ones now, it'll depend on where the person is at and the stage of the disease, of course, because our classes are independent, meaning I am, I'm not sitting right next to the participants, depending on on the facility, I'm up on a podium, or I'm in the front of the room. So if they need more one on one assistance, then that might be something that we would need to talk about. So that I would be aware of that for one. But a lot of times a caregiver or the spouse is with their loved one with the disease. And that person that is attending, and I'm thinking of two gentlemen that have been attending, you know, you can see the joy on their face. They're not It's not doesn't seem to be overwhelming for them. And I think the routine brings them comfort to be there, too. Yeah. And so the the caregiver is benefiting from, you know, having an outlet to be able to exercise and to socialize with others, as well as, as their person who has this disease is also benefiting from the same things.

Unknown Speaker  18:09  
Excellent. So is there an enrollment that they need to do before they come? Do they just show up? What's the how they enroll in this program?

Unknown Speaker  18:17  
Yeah, so I would encourage them to call their local senior center to find out what days and what times the classes are all of the centers provide a plethora of different activities for seniors. So knowing which Center has what's going on is very, very important. And then as far as registering for a class, the arthritis exercise class, the door is open, people come and go, some people will come and be consistent every, whatever day of the week it is and others know. Okay, I can attend for the month of March. So I'm going to try to get there every Tuesday in March. But yeah, to call their local senior center, also our website, Valley area Has our programs and services on there so you can kind of get an idea of what's been offered.

Unknown Speaker  19:13  
Excellent. So thank you so much, Jennifer. So we've been here with Jennifer joiner from Valley area agency on aging, a certified death arthritis instructor and SilverSneakers. Instructor. Jennifer, anything else you'd like to add that folks might want to know about? Before we close up?

Unknown Speaker  19:32  
I think we've covered most of it. I look forward to if see and whoever hears hears this podcast if they want to attend then I welcome you. Okay.

Unknown Speaker  19:42  
Excellent. Well, thank you, Jennifer. Remember everybody that if you liked this podcast, I want to hear more of them and want to know when the new ones come out. Feel free to subscribe on wherever you're listening. We're on all the podcast channels YouTube and on our website, which is Manor law Thank you for listening and don't forget to subscribe.

Unknown Speaker  20:07  
Thanks for listening. To learn more, visit Manor law

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