Who we are:

Senior Functional Fitness is a one-on-one functional fitness program with a goal of helping older adults and people with disabilities regain and maintain independence, balance, safety and mobility in the Denver Metro Area. Our functional fitness model when working with clients, even those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, relies on consistency over time, building a strong relationship, trust, and rapport, while focusing on training at a muscle memory level as opposed to a cognitive retraining level, like that of a Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist.

Consistency over time is fundamental to any program, whether it be training for a fitness competition, or trying to improve a client’s balance and over all strength. We generally work with our client for months and even years to help them stay as functional as possible as they age.

What is functional fitness:

Functional exercises tend to be multi-joint and multi-muscle movement. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. To be effective, a functional exercise program will include a number of different elements which can be adapted to an individual’s needs or goals. It is based on every day activities, specific to focusing on meaningful tasks. It is specific to the individual state of health, including presence or history of injury. An assessment will be performed to help guide exercise selection and training approach. Our sessions include a variety of exercises that work on balance retraining, cardiovascular endurance, strength, moving in multiple planes, and core strength. Lastly, our program evolves with our client’s specific needs as they age.

What we can offer to those with Dementia/Alzheimer’s:

It is difficult to use cognitive retraining of skills with clients with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Depending on the degree of dementia, it may not be possible to teach any sort of technique at a cognitive level. However, repetition of skills and good body mechanics is effective, as is training the musculature involved in a given task, hence relying on muscle memory as opposed to cognitive memory. For example, to improve sit to stand ability and technique, we will focus on repetition of good technique, strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluts, improving core strength and trunk flexion, and improving standing balance through somatosensory stimulation. All these aspects contribute to effective and safe transfers as well as overall stability.

By starting gently and focusing on the psychosocial as well as the physical, we find we build a strong relationship, trust and rapport with our clients. This approach works especially well with those who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Even if a client might not know our name, we become a familiar friend/face, who is part of their rhythm and routine.

What we can offer as Certified Senior Personal Trainers versus a Restorative Care Program:

What we can offer as Certified Senior Personal Trainers, is sub-acute or post-acute functional exercise focusing on therapeutic exercise, reconditioning and physical education. Furthermore, as Certified Senior Personal Trainers, we emphasize the psychological as well as physical benefits of therapeutic and functional exercise. These exercises enhance the strength, mobility and endurance of functionally limited individuals, or those requiring long-term reconditioning.

Because of our education and training, we can offer more than that of a “restorative care program.” A restorative care aide is limited in the level of care that they can provide to a client, given the limited amount of education. For example, a restorative care aide can perform Active Range of Motion (AROM) and Passive Range of Motion (PROM) in a safe manner to residents as assigned by the DON (Director of Nursing) and the resident’s overall plan of care. However, as Certified Senior Personal Trainers with degrees in the exercise science realm, we can adjust a client’s program plan as needed and as we see fit, while being mindful of and educated to any contraindications that may exist. This allows us to provide the greatest amount of care to each client we serve as well as allowing us to help our client reach her/his optimal functional abilities over a period of time.

What we can offer as Certified Senior Personal Trainers versus Physical Therapy:

While Physical Therapy is extremely important and a highly respected field, it is limited to the amount of service it can provide to their patients due to the limitations health insurance companies place upon them.  As Certified Senior Personal Trainers, and a private pay program, we can work with each client long-term. By starting gently and focusing on the psychosocial as well as the physical, we find we build a strong relationship, trust and rapport with our clients, thus allowing us to help each client reach her/his full functional potential. We also like to view our services as proactive versus reactive, like that of Physical Therapy. Through functional fitness and balance retraining, we can help each client stay as functional and independent as possible in their current living situation, thus helping to limit the need for Physical Therapy in the future and by helping to reduce the need for long-term care and the high costs associated with such care. Being proactive in one’s physical health is far more cost effective in the long run.

Numerous studies have shown that exercise is beneficial in older adults along the full spectrum of health status, even in the frailest subset. The benefits include increased mobility, enhanced performance of activities of daily living, improved gait, fewer falls, increased bone mineral density, and improvements in general well-being. ~  “Frailty in older adults: Insights and interventions.” By Sara Espinoza, MD and Jeremy D. Walston, MD. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine

Does insurance pay for my functional fitness sessions?

Because Senior Functional Fitness services are considered preventative and functional, Medicare and other supplemental insurance companies will not reimburse us for our services.  However, our services are reimbursable through Long Term Health Insurance.