Avery Point, the Erickson Senior Living community in Richmond, Va., is pleased to welcome Julie McElduff as the new fitness manager!
In the short period of time that McElduff has been with the community, she's added water aerobics, line dancing, gentle yoga, chair yoga, and floor yoga to the list of fitness activities.
"It's been fun, adding new programs for residents to try. When we offer a new class, residents are there! We can't keep up with them," she says, with a laugh.
Pathway to finding purpose
McElduff, a native of Alabama, knew that she wanted to guide people in their health and wellness journeys from a young age.
"Growing up, I was always playing sports," she recalls. "Exercising became a big part of my life."
In middle school, her career path became clear when she met an exercise physiologist at the church her family attended.
"My dad took me to visit where she worked," McElduff says. "I knew, right then and there, that that's what I wanted to do."
McElduff attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she majored in health education with plans to become an exercise physiologist. But during her junior year, the recommendation of one of her professors changed her path.
"My professor was working with a hospital program that visited churches to teach fitness classes for seniors. He told me, 'I think you'd be a really great fit for this,'" she recalls. "I went to one of the classes and fell in love with it. From then on, I knew I wanted to work with the senior population."
Climbing the ladder
After graduation, her first full-time job was with the University of Alabama's rural medicine department, working with medical, nursing, and nutrition students to bring health care to rural areas.
"I was working with seniors every day," she notes. "It solidified that I was on the right path."
McElduff then served as the program director for Resources for Seniors in North Carolina, where she set up activities like line dancing and exercise classes for independent seniors.
When she and her family moved to Richmond, McElduff secured a job at a local YMCA as the head of senior programming.
"I started offering water fitness and personal training for seniors, while continuing to teach fitness classes for them," she explains. "I was thriving in each of these roles, really getting to know the seniors and support them in their wellness journeys."
McElduff continues, "After the YMCA, I joined a retirement community in the area." Although she loved working with the residents there, she wanted to find an environment that would support her in offering a much wider range of fitness programs and services.
At that time, Avery Point was looking to hire a fitness manager. McElduff made the move and is thrilled to work in a community that shares her creativity and enthusiasm.
Not long after joining the vibrant Erickson Senior Living community, McElduff began offering cardio, core, strength, and stability classes on campus for residents.
"I was so amazed. No matter what I offered, the classes would just fill up!" she says.
Inspired to start other classes for cardio drumming, Latin dance, and tai chi, McElduff has the unwavering support of coworkers and managers.
"Every team member at Avery Point is dedicated to helping residents live better lives," she notes.
But these activities are just the tip of the iceberg, as McElduff hopes to introduce TRX Suspension Training System classes; PiYo classes, which combines Pilates and yoga; a barre class; kickboxing; and Rock Steady Boxing, designed for people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's.
In addition to developing new programs for residents to try, McElduff notes that she enjoys working individually with residents on their goals.
"I get excited when residents tell me about the exercise goals they have," she says. "I brainstorm ways they can train so they can do what they want to do."
Recently, when a resident returned from a trip to Italy, she thanked McElduff because her personalized training plan helped her with all the hikes and climbs on the trip.
"She was just so appreciative," says McElduff. "I love that I helped her do what she wanted to do!"
To learn more about affordable, independent senior living at Avery Point, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.