Joyce retired from 21 year career as an educator 3½ years ago. Her role as a 3rd grade teacher offered many rewards…seeing children discover their potential and years of friendship with her colleagues. However, the position also made physical demands on her, especially after her double knee replacements. In addition to her full-time job, Joyce held dual roles of caregiving. As an only child, she carried sole responsibility for her aged mom. She also pitched in to help with her grandchildren, when her schedule allowed. The cumulative stress affected her health. Her doctor surprised her when she informed Joyce test results indicated pre-diabetes.
Joyce made the decision the fall following her retirement to rebuild her own health and wellness. She joined a 9 am water fitness class at the West Family YMCA. The pool offered her the impact-free workout her doctor prescribed for her knees. Joyce also discovered another positive benefit, socialization. She shared fun, laughter and encouragement within her new circle of friends. As her “pool pals” floated and chatted before and after class, she found others faced the similar parental care issues. Joyce valued their insights and “I get it,” empathy when her mom’s health failed enough to require challenging decisions about round the clock care. The 45 minutes also provided Joyce with “a water-soluble, de-stressor workout” that kept her pre-diabetes in check.
After retirement, Joyce also took on an exciting role, childcare provider. She began watching her grandchildren, ages 5, 3 and 8 months, 3 days a week. Thankfully, the water fitness class helped her joints and improved her mobility. Her newly acquired functional fitness allows her to keep up with them, get them to their activities…and enjoy the time they share.
Joyce said the YMCA classes and walks in her neighborhood helped her to shed some weight, lower her stress level and improve her health!
Joyce says of her YMCA experience:
The pool time is when your mind can forget all of life’s issues, just relax and take a break from real life for 45 minutes.
The Y is a great place for caregivers (or anyone) to meet kind, compassionate and positive people. YMCA friendships encourage you to stay committed to your emotional and physical well-being, as well offering support in really difficult times.