Care Resources Explores Benefits to Elderly Residents With a Tai Chi Class

Care Resources in Grand Rapids recently offered a tai chi class to Day Center visitors ages 55 and older as a way to promote healthy living.

“Tai chi is a form of exercise that originated in China and has become extremely popular throughout the world,” said Maria Goosen, a certified therapeutic recreational specialist (CTRS) who led the tai chi class. “It incorporates slow, simple, repetitive and low-impact movements that can be easily modified so that anyone can participate.”

A tranquil environment.

The small exercise class took place in a room that featured a screen portraying peaceful nature scenes, low lighting, and soft music. Slow stretches gradually progressed into a sequence of tai chi movements that participants were able to complete sitting or standing, whichever was most comfortable to them.

Goosen says the benefits of tai chi are lengthy: improved balance, improved strength, improved hand-eye coordination, improved sleep quality, increased blood circulation and decreased risk of high blood pressure.

“It is a research-based intervention that has the capability to improve health in older adults,” said Goosen.

That is critically important to Care Resources, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE®, which is funded by Medicare and Medicaid. The innovative community-based program for people 55 years and older promotes healthy and independent living while working to prevent nursing home placement.

The tai chi class is one of dozens of programs offered each month to participants.

Bingo…and good friends.

Pamela Miller, a tai chi class participant, has been coming to Care Resources five days a week for the past four years.

“I’ve got a lot of pluses about this place,” said Miller with a firm nod when asked if she enjoyed coming to the Day Center.

Playing Bingo, singing with “Diane the Shower Lady,” shopping in the Bingo Room, spending time with friends, and singing karaoke are only a few things Miller enjoys while at the Day Center.

And Miller’s definition of enjoyment is simple: “All I want is a good card to play Bingo.”

Comfort and encouragement.

Also very important to Miller is talking to the military veterans who come to the Day Center and offering comfort when she can.

“I’m there for them,” said Miller. “I see how they suffer. And they have suffered a lot.”

When asked what Miller’s favorite thing to do is at the Day Center, she answered without hesitation: “Encourage other people.”

Care Resources offers a day center, clinic and pharmacy in its 36,000-square-foot building at 4150 Kalamazoo Ave SE that provide a wide range of health care services as well as opportunities that promote socialization, build community and offer respite to caregivers.

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Last updated 09.18.2023 I H5610_WEB

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