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Montgomery Place addresses the challenge of balance during this time of COVID-19

Dear Friends and Family,

As we discussed in previous messages, isolation related to our efforts to contain COVID-19 seems to be working toward that effort, but it is placing at-risk other areas of our residents’ health. Isolation has a very negative affect—both mentally and physically—on people, especially older adults. Several times I have read that isolation can be a factor contributing to death among seniors. I wonder if it even could be more deadly than the virus itself. The consequences of reduced physical connection are scary!

During these last few weeks, we have encouraged residents at Montgomery Place to participate in a screening that determines their risk of falling. This screening uses an artificial intelligence algorithm, which is adjusted for age and gender, to measure and evaluate walking speed, gait and posture as a way to establish future risks of falling. With this screening (free to residents), a physical therapist can recommend and secure physician orders for physical therapy programs that help renew people’s body to improve balance and reduce the risk of falling. Our therapist has been knocking on doors and offering this free screening, but some residents resist taking this assessment.

I understand their concerns of exposure to the virus through interactions with therapy team members, even though they are appropriately garbed for protection. I also understand residents’ hesitation to agree to be screened because they have not yet fallen. And I certainly understand feeling embarrassed by acknowledging just how much the last few months have caused some decline. But, residents, I remain quite concerned for your health and safety. Self-discipline to exercise daily in your apartment is not typical. Most people need a support network to encourage exercise and help them break out of the habits acquired during isolation.

Today, I ask family and friends to be a support network for their loved ones who live at Montgomery Place. Encourage them to get out a bit more, to attend exercise classes and to participate in a fall risk assessment—if they haven’t already done so.

If you can, please come to Montgomery Place to visit your loved ones who reside in independent living. The anticipation of knowing a guest is arriving motivates us to consider different behaviors. Preparing for visitors causes us to evaluate our physical appearance as well as our mental status. As you visit, go for a walk! Both our gardens and the lakefront are open and welcoming to all!

For those families of residents in skilled nursing care and assisted living, we are working to create ways for you to visit in July that comply with several mandates published by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Patience, please, as we work with regulations which limit our ability to give you access to visit your loved ones.

As this journey continues to evolve, please contact me with your questions and suggestions. Call my mobile phone number, 773-617-1317, at any time.

Working together, gives us strength.

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