"Movement is medicine," says Keith Washington Carrillo, the fitness coordinator at Maris Grove, an Erickson Senior Living community in the Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania. "Exercise leads to a stronger body and an even stronger mind!"
Guided by this holistic approach to well-being, Carrillo organizes a variety of classes and activities to support residents' physical and mental health.
"Maris Grove residents have so many programs to choose from," he notes. "My goal is to challenge their bodies and minds in a safe way, so that they can continue to thrive."
Linda Spinelli, who moved to Maris Grove in 2022, is experiencing firsthand the benefits of Carrillo's approach.
"I could exercise in my apartment home if I wanted to, but I gain so much more from the socialization in the group classes. It has enhanced my quality of life," she says. "I love having fitness options right outside my door!"
The beat of a different drum
In addition to yoga and Zumba, Linda participates in Carrillo's Cardio Drumming class.
"You sit in a chair with a large exercise ball in front of you," she explains. "Each of us has a pair of drumsticks, and we drum on the balls while Keith plays music."
Participants are also encouraged to tap their feet to the beat, working muscles in the lower body as well.
"It's a great workout. It's also great for my concentration because you can't drift off--you have to pay attention and maintain the rhythm. As much as I'd like to think about what I'm going to eat for lunch, I can't!" she says, with a laugh.
Leading each and every class with a smile, it's evident to Linda and her neighbors that Carrillo cares about their well-being.
"I have always liked group classes, but Keith takes them to the next level," she says.
Spreading the word
To help residents stay on top of everything happening in the vibrant community, Carrillo has produced a show for the past few years called Heart to Heart, which he cohosts on Maris Grove's in-house TV channel with Resident Life Manager Susan Mattes.
"We want residents to be aware of everything there is to do, whether it relates to health and wellness or the many interests and hobbies that are represented around campus," he says. "But instead of listing off activities and groups, we interview different colleagues, allowing residents to get to know staff members on a deeper level--as opposed to just the services they provide."
Inspired by the relationships that Heart to Heart has fostered, Carrillo helped launch the community's Fituation Wellness Expo.
"It's an interdepartmental collaboration aimed at promoting a holistic approach to health and wellness," he says. "The expo blends fitness with other areas that impact well-being, like Pastoral Ministries; Inner Wisdom, a resident-run group; and Dining Services."
The Pastoral Ministries team was discussing the importance of letting go and Inner Wisdom was providing meditations, playing folk music, and singing gospel music.
"We hold on to things that we've invested so much time in," Carrillo explains, "but those things may no longer serve us. They've run their course and it's time to move on, but sometimes we become so attached that it stifles us. Learning to let go can help."
Fituation 2023 was such a success that a second annual event is planned for May.
"The Fituation Wellness Expo was a great learning experience," says Linda. "I loved being able to learn about so many wellness topics all in one location."
Path to well-being
Looking forward to Fituation 2024 and the many exercise classes built into Maris Grove's activity calendar, Carrillo is happy that he'll get to empower even more residents on their journeys toward a healthy lifestyle.
"Whether you like taking Cardio Drumming classes, swimming in the pool, or walking around campus, there are plenty of ways to care for your physical and mental health at Maris Grove."
To learn more about senior living at Maris Grove, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.