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Living Without Limits

Podcast #9: Refreshing your body, mind and spirit.

Wellness is the key to everything. Chris Irvine, senior director of rehab and wellness at The Arboretum Villas, discusses the Center for Healthy Living and all the amenities within steps of your Villa including indoor and outdoor exercise classes, personal trainers, a lap pool, pickle ball and more.

FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPT OF OUR PODCAST:

Nitsa Foundos:
Hello. Welcome to Living Without Limits. Our fun and informative podcast about the Arboretum Villas at Plymouth Place, right here in La Grange Park, Illinois. And guess what? I’m your host, Nitsa Foundos, and joining me today is Chris Irvine, senior director of rehab and wellness. Today, we’ll be talking about the Center for Healthy Living and all the services available to help our founders and residents feel their best. Welcome, Chris.

Chris Irvine:
Thank you, Nitsa.

Nitsa Foundos:
Well, let’s start off with you. You have so many initials after your name, that I can’t even keep up with you. So I just want you to tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the Arboretum Villas.

Chris Irvine:
Sure. So I’m the senior director of rehab and wellness here at Plymouth Place and when I started here a few years ago, my vision was to create a wellness rehab continuum serving our resident needs regardless of what their current level of fitness or rehab potential was, and making sure that we really are developing programs that are accessible to every person, modifying as appropriate.

Nitsa Foundos:
How did you get into this profession, Chris? What kind of happened when you were younger that said, oh, this is what I want to do with my life.

Chris Irvine:
So when I was 14, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. So it was something at that time I wanted to educate myself and learn how to prevent diseases and take care of myself. I always enjoyed running and that was my first step into really saying, I enjoy this. What else can be a component to help me live healthier? And from there I got very engaged with nutrition, all different types of working out. And then most recently taking bar classes after having some surgeries, which really helped me stay conditioned as far as balance, just overall core strength. My whole body gets a work workout every single day but most importantly, my mind does.

Nitsa Foundos:
So Chris, tell me, when we started this… Oh my goodness, how long have we been talking about the Center for Healthy Living? Do you remember?

Chris Irvine:
Oh gosh, I think now it’s been since February of 2020.

Nitsa Foundos:
I know. So tell me, what is exciting you most about this project?

Chris Irvine:
I would really have to say the overall energy and the ability to have vibrant programming, to hear the voices and the personalities of our new residents that will be moving in, what their interests are. Of course, it’s varied and it’s changed a lot in the past couple of years.

Chris Irvine:
I’m huge believer in having fitness programs that not only are fun, but help you relax, help you focus on what is important in your life. What I tell myself every single morning when I get up is today’s challenge is tomorrow’s warmup. It’s a quote that I saw recently and I think we can all really identify with that where if you can do the hardest thing first thing in the morning, everything else that comes after that is a walk in the park.

Nitsa Foundos:
Oh my goodness. I do love that.

Nitsa Foundos:
So you know that we’re generating a much younger crowd.

Chris Irvine:
Yep.

Nitsa Foundos:
And so when you think of 70 year olds, talk to me about, what do you think they’re really going to appreciate in terms of the different programming that will be involved at the Center for Healthy Living?

Chris Irvine:
Yep. So Arboretum Villas, our vision here is really to create a unique, vibrant environment that’s different than any other community nearby. Gone are the days when bingo and shuffle board were exercises that folks wanted to do. Now a lot are still avid runners, they are still doing marathons.

Chris Irvine:
So our wellness classes are designed to engage the mind, body, spirit. And what I mean by that is not only taking care of the core and making sure that our balance is great, but also making sure that our attitude is something that we believe in ourselves, that we have that time to relax, to focus, to take maybe an hour where it’s just for me, nobody else gets that hour, it’s my time. I tell myself in class, leave it all on the mat. When I leave that day, I know I’ve given it my all and any negative energy that I have is going to stay behind on that mat. And as I walk through the doors onto my massage or to my next culinary event, that I’ve done a little something for myself and I’m engaging socially and I’m going to go be with my friends to celebrate all of our hard work.

Nitsa Foundos:
That is so exciting. Chris, when we’re doing the education events of the Arboretum Villas, we’re showing a flyover video that shows all of this amazing, beautiful green space in the middle. So an example, there’s a putting green, but then there’s also a yoga lawn. So come on, tell me more.

Chris Irvine:
So yes, we’ve got exercise green space, which is dedicated for our yoga, Tai Chi. Of course, we’ll have bocce ball, pickle ball. Really the space is designed to be flexible, to be able to suit whatever that newest wellness trend is.

Nitsa Foundos:
You mentioned yoga, pickle ball, all of those things. So with regard to the physicality of the exercise room, talk to me and the listeners about the type of equipment that will be in there, that’ll be new and innovative versus what they normally see in communities.

Chris Irvine:
Something that we’re very passionate about here at the Arboretum Villas is having programming that really is accessible, where we have our staff that of course, is very well trained.

Not only having the instruction from beginners all the way to advanced, but also having activities that will compliment any type of exercise regimen. Of course, yoga, Tai Chi, all about breathing, relaxation that mind-body connection, which will make you a better runner or walker, just have more ability to be able to have an enjoyable program, enjoyable to whether it be swimming with your children to training for a triathlon.

Of course, aquatics is a huge area of interest. It’s a perfect tool to relieve arthritis pain, stiffness, and allowing resistance without stress and the negative effects of those impacts on your body. And the beautiful thing about our space is while we have the typical Pilates, bar equipment, multitude of exercise, a very beautiful lap pool, we also have the opportunity to bring in outside programmings and shift that space based on those needs.

Nitsa Foundos:
There was one thing that you missed, Chris and it’s the boxing classes. That is so popular these days and it’s a great way to take out your frustrations or stressors in the world. Don’t you see that being a popular thing?

Chris Irvine:
Our Rock Steady boxing class is designed for any individual with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. The mind, body, the connection that happens with boxing has been shown to really help alleviate and help prevent further deconditioning associated with Parkinson’s disease. We also have boxing programs for any level of fitness.

Nitsa Foundos:
You’ve demonstrated this new technology that is all around staying ahead of balance issues. Could you tell us a little more about that?

Chris Irvine:
Sure. Fairly new to our suite of rehab technology is a VirtueSense. The VirtueSense is a device that’s able to measure and predict our likelihood of a fall, but more importantly, make recommendations based on the assessment as far as specific exercise or programmings that would help us prevent fall, work on our balance.

Nitsa Foundos:
Walk them through the process of someone maybe approaching a setback.

Chris Irvine:
Okay. So when a resident first comes to our community, what we like to do is establish a baseline to truly assess what needs are to be addressed, what the person interests and goals are.

So we have our own onsite outpatient clinic where we would obtain orders from the physician. And from there, our therapists, whether it be physical, occupational or speech therapy, will conduct an evaluation and from there establish a plan of care that will have specific goals. If there’s for example, an issue with pain, we have a non-narcotic pain program that is led by our physiatrist. Upon discharge from therapy, they will be referred to our wellness program where we would establish an exercise prescription and then reestablish a new baseline by which to measure the new goals that we have as far as fitness outcomes.

Nitsa Foundos:
So the fact that we can utilize both the therapeutic side, which is more medically driven and the wellness side of being able to work out, enjoy your life and have that personal trainer available to help you focus on those areas of need. Man, that’s a recipe for success. I’m so excited, Chris.

Nitsa Foundos:
The fact Chris, that you’ve pushed through so many obstacles is amazing, and I know that we are so lucky to have you a part of this senior team. I know you brighten my day every day and all of us. So thank you Chris, for joining us today.

Chris Irvine:
Thank you, Nitsa. I think it’s all about learning that we have to be humble, forgiving and loving to ourselves and also have that gentle balance of pushing yourself just enough, listening to your body, knowing that you have to work hard, you have to take time to relax and you have to take time to engage with those who identify with those same great ideologies in life.

Nitsa Foundos:
Isn’t it something that the world has evolved where it’s put you right here at this pivotal moment in time to make this huge contribution for something like the Arboretum Villas that does not come along every day?

Wow. Well, if you’d like to know more about the Center for Healthy Living and you have a question for our Chris Irvine, you can give us a call at (708) 482-6634. You can also visit arboretumvillas.org to sign up for one of our educational events. Or better yet, just stop on by the design center at 26 South La Grange road in downtown La Grange, and say hello to our Shelley. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 to 5:30. Thank you so very much everyone for tuning into Living Without Limits. We look forward to talking with you again. Until then, I’m Nitsa.

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