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Montgomery Place promotes core strength, advocates for staff members during this time of COVID-19

Dear friends and family,

Forty days ago we transitioned to “no visitors” and moved to observing the “Stay at Home” order. Yes, only 40 days ago, even though it seems like 40 months! And it is only 37 more days till June 1, when the extended order for “Stay at Home” will expire. So, looking at this situation from the optimist’s point of view, we are more than halfway there!

But these days of isolation and confinement, which do not allow for healthy exercise, can potentially weaken your core body strength. I hope residents have been participating in the various exercise classes aired on Montgomery Place’s Channel 4 during the week. And I know many are taking daily walks. Both are great ways to help keep your core strong. Now, it’s time to do more. Starting during the last week of April, our therapy company again will offer outpatient therapy here.

Natalie Hackett, a physical therapist who is our rehab director, first will contact residents, who had been scheduled for therapy sessions, to restart their regimes. This rehab team is devoted exclusively to outpatient therapy sessions and there is no staff cross-over with residents in skilled nursing care and assisted living.

Natalie also will offer sessions for residents who want to evaluate their core balance using VirtuSense. She will bring this technology to your apartment or hallway where she can quickly check your balance and gait as a way to determine your fall risk. While you are not required to participate, I encourage you to take advantage of this assessment tool which is a fun and illuminating experience.

There is no therapist-to-patient contact and Natalie will wear a face mask. You should wear yours too. Because you do not touch any equipment, this evaluation is relatively risk-free. Once you complete your evaluation, Natalie will send the results to your physician for orders for therapy, if needed. Then, she will arrange to come to you for therapy sessions in your apartment.

This is a very first step to “opening up” Montgomery Place. We think it is safe to do so because we have set-up many layers of safety. Still, we will continue to follow all the precautions Montgomery Place has instituted: Twice daily nursing checks, hands-free deliveries, sanitation of common areas and many more. We balance these essential practices with our conviction that it is important to help you regain some of your strength and mobility after 40 days of isolation.

In other news today, I’m glad to say “no news is good news” when it comes to residents’ well-being at Montgomery Place. Still, our vigil must continue. From our staff members, we continue to hear of more and more cases of the virus infecting members of their extended families. COVID-19 remains a big challenge on the South Side.

Today, I spoke with our Alderman Leslie Hairston who is helping a group of senior living CEOs reach out to Chicago City Council members to inform them about the peril healthcare workers face. We are advocating for free testing for all healthcare workers, even when they do not present symptoms. While I am not certain if this will happen, I do know our staff members and residents continue to be at-risk due to the close proximity issues demanded of our profession. We ask you to tap your powerful network to contact elected officials at the city, county, state and national levels to join this plea.

I’m signing off for tonight. May you all have pleasant dreams and safe tomorrows!  Please call me at any time. My mobile phone number, 773-617-1317.

Working out together, makes us stronger, too!

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