How WindsorMeade Uses Fitness to Overcome Social Isolation During COVID (INTERVIEW)
Meet Meg, the Fitness Coordinator, and Holly, the Director of Lifestyles and Wellness at WindsorMeade, a Continuing Care Retirement Community. WindsorMeade is a premier active senior lifestyle community located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Learn how WindsorMeade has evolved their fitness services in light of COVID-19 and dramatically increased participation in order to keep residents healthy, engaged and connected in a safe and innovative way.
About 8 Min.
What was the fitness programming at WindsorMeade like pre-COVID-19 & how did you adjust during COVID-19 to keep residents engaged?
Meg: Pre-COVID, we thought the fitness center was a hectic place. We offered extensive programming with a wide range of classes for all levels. At that time, approximately 30 people used the fitness equipment every week. In January 2020, we started a major renovation in our center, which included purchasing new EGYM equipment. We were excited, but then COVID-19 hit, and we had to close the fitness center doors. This required us to adjust our service to the residents. We started teaching outdoor classes with a microphone and a small PA system, and residents participated from the safety of their patios. We recorded virtual classes that residents could follow on our community resident portal, Touchtown, and sent home exercise routines that residents could do on-their-own.
What has the response been once you were able to open the newly renovated fitness center?
Meg: Amazing! We started with a slow opening, onboarding one resident at a time on the EGYM equipment. Over 100 people have onboarded since June, and as we can see from our monthly usage reports, 98% are regularly coming to participate in their individualized exercise program. Our retention rate is fabulous, and our newest members can’t wait to get started!
Holly: It’s incredible to see new members who have never worked out a day in their life use the fitness studio. They love EGYM and look forward to working out. That was our goal!
“I like that once the equipment is set, it resets for me every time and I don’t have to do it! This is a major improvement over traditional equipment. Secondly, I keep getting stronger because the equipment reassesses my strength after 6 sessions. Thirdly, I am inspired by the feedback EGYM gives me on my progress. During Covid, this equipment has energized me to focus on being strong!”
How are you managing the well-being interest of your residents in light of the COVID guidelines?
Meg: With increased cleanings and expanded hours we have made the Fitness Studio more accessible. EGYM’s personalized training makes everyone feel confident in the studio. Now I can feel comfortable knowing the EGYM equipment will help our residents exercise safely because the equipment automatically adjusts to their settings and the gamification element helps ensure the exercises will be performed correctly. We are now able to effectively serve more members.
Holly: WindsorMeade has been incredibly cautious. We have a dedicated COVID team that meets weekly to ensure the safety of the community and we continue to look for innovative ways to make things less stressful for the residents. For example, we purchased wall thermometers so residents can easily walk up and get their temperatures taken. We want to make the COVID-19 screening process less frustrating for the residents so they can enjoy their fitness experience.
I know EGYM provides a safe opportunity for residents to have an effective fun workout. We have had a surge in machine usage since installing EGYM.
Meg Weber, Fitness Coordinator
As a community, how are you continuing to build a culture of well-being in this age of social distancing?
Holly: In these uncertain times we must prioritize the safety of our residents by checking in regularly. We have set up calling chains, we offer virtual education and entertainment, shop for resident necessities, deliver meals, set up Zoom classes, and offer Bible Study. We created a WindsorMeade cookbook and partnered with local non-profits in order to make a difference in the broader community. It’s important to give the residents something positive to focus on. Together we have built a culture of well-being during this pandemic that should carry over in less challenging times.
How has the fitness center played a role in overcoming social isolation?
Meg: The newly renovated Fitness Center has been very popular not just for the physical benefits, but for the residents’ mental and emotional health. The EGYM platform has provided us with an innovative way to promote our sense of community through technology. The app brings members together allowing users to see their friends' and neighbors’ accomplishments. Residents are able to participate in friendly competition and create relationships in a socially distant and safe way.
“It is refreshing to be able to see happy faces and share in some fun camaraderie with fellow residents.”
What has been an unexpected impact in the fitness center programming in light of COVID?
Meg: COVID has totally changed how we do fitness. Before, our program was focused on fitness classes of various styles and levels along with special programming. Now, we are able to empower residents to exercise individually and can support them in their fitness journey. EGYM has become the pinnacle of our program.
Holly: I like to see the positive light in any situation and attribute the increased and ongoing activity in WindsorMeade’s Fitness Center as a silver lining to the COVID shutdown in the spring. The newly renovated space and high-tech machinery encouraged new members to get fit and stay healthy. It is wonderful to see something so positive come from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you have any inspirational stories you would like to share with us?
Meg: Yes! One particular gentleman who suffers from Parkinson’s immediately came to my office after exercising for the first time on the EGYM equipment.
He couldn’t believe how beneficial the EGYM equipment was for him. Specifically, the gamification has made a difference with his hand and eye coordination. He said to me, “I am convinced that the coordination of eye, brain, and muscle activation with EGYM provides another weapon in my battle with Parkinson’s.”