On December 15, 2014, members of the CHS Post-Professional Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program participated in the State Championships for the Florida Senior Games held in Ft Myers, FL. This event is part of the National Senior Games, a 19-sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 and over. Residents and faculty from St. Catherine’s performed a set of screens to assess the overall health and fitness of a sample of participating seniors. Using the SAFE (Senior Athlete Fitness Exam) model developed by Becca Jordre, PT, DPT, GCS, Certified MDT of the University of South Dakota; a series of stations were set up at the Track and Field events location in the morning and at the Pickleball event in the afternoon. PT Residents Cheyenne Chrzanowski, PT, DPT; Jacob Dorman, PT, DPT; and Debra Frisch, PT, DPT were joined by Program Director Greg Hartley, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA, and Program Coordinator Gemma Longfellow, PT, MSPT, GCS in evaluating four key areas that define health/fitness: cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength, and balance/mobility. Participants received feedback on their performance and suggestions for maintaining or improving their overall fitness.
It was inspiring and rewarding to see these successful aging adults who perform as elite athletes in their chosen sports. Imagine a 100 year-old gentleman taking a medal in the javelin throw… or a 76 year-old woman realizing at age 64 that she had a gift for running and going on to become one of the top female runners in the world for her age group. Participating in events like this is a great way for physical therapists and other healthcare providers to bring awareness to the importance of maintaining fitness as we age and to supporting an active and healthy lifestyle in older adults. CHS plans to have the physical therapy residents who are specializing in geriatrics attend this event annually.