A New-Look Fitness Center at Mulberry Gardens

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Newly remodeled GoodLife Fitness Center at Hartford HealthCare’s Mulberry Gardens supports exercise goals of older adults

Dora Devino, a Mulberry Gardens of Southington resident, loves the newly remodeled GoodLife Fitness Center where she exercises several times each week.

“The longer I stay on the machines, the better I feel,” she said, as she worked her arms and legs on the NuStep cross trainer.

Devino, 94, is a big enthusiast of the newly remodeled GoodLife Fitness Center at the independent, assisted living and memory care community at 58 Mulberry St. As representatives of Mulberry Gardens, Hartford HealthCare Senior Services and the Main Street Community Foundation gathered for the Aug. 2 ribbon-cutting, a half-dozen fitness program members were faithfully exercising under the guidance of Michele Boisvert, an exercise specialist.

The project was funded by a $76,079 grant received earlier this year from the Bradley H. Barnes & Leila U. Barnes Memorial Trust of the Main Street Community Foundation. Updates included more senior-friendly exercise equipment, improved handicap access, new flooring, an additional TV, ceiling fans and new furniture. The newly painted walls are enhanced with large landscape photographs purchased from Southington Community Cultural Arts.

Susan Sadecki, president and chief executive officer, Main Street Community Foundation, said she and the Advisory Committee visited GoodLife Fitness to evaluate the need as detailed in the grant application.

“This is a result of the generosity of Bradley H. Barnes. Today he would be exercising here,” Sadecki said as she gestured around the room. “He has left an incredible legacy.”

Exercise for seniors was a rare concept 10 years ago, said Lisa Connolly, NHA, MS, vice president, Hartford HealthCare Community Network. But Hartford HealthCare Senior Services communities, including Mulberry Gardens, have embraced the idea by offering GoodLife Fitness and exercise professionals at each location. The results have been remarkable with people exercising regularly, walking about the community and staying socially engaged, she said.

Boisvert said she has 48 active members, including residents and members of the adult day center. GoodLife Fitness is also open to the public. She noted that many of the participants who are in their 90s are the most dedicated, coming several times each week.

“Many lead active lives but we would like to get even more people engaged,” Bosivert said, adding that she has seen an increase in participation since the remodeled center was opened.

Hartford HealthCare offers GoodLife Fitness at eight locations, including Bloomfield, New Britain, Newington, Southington and Willimantic.

Stop by for a tour of Mulberry Gardens of Southington, a not-for-profit assisted living, adult day and memory care community located at 58 Mulberry St. in the Plantsville section of Southington. For more information about Mulberry Gardens of Southington, a member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services, visit mulberrygardens.org or call 860.276.1020.

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