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Embracing the New Year

Erickson Living residents plan to thrive in 2011

Created date

December 21st, 2010

According to a recent Marist poll, 48% of Americans make New Year s resolutions. Not surprisingly, losing weight and getting in shape top the list. Other notable goals? Learning a new skill and upping volunteer work. The most important thing about setting goals is to find something that gets you excited that engages you, says Mary Anne Fields, a Houston-based life coach, trainer, and speaker. It s a lot easier to meet a goal when you are passionate about it. With that in mind, here s a look at four Erickson Living residents who are taking steps to make 2011 their healthiest, most productive year yet.

Janelle Armstrong

Shortly after she moved to Eagle s Trace in January 2006, Janelle Armstrong began walking on the treadmill in the community s fitness center several times a week. I lost a little bit of weight, and I was proud of myself for exercising regularly, says Armstrong, but I still experienced back pain and had trouble keeping my balance. After overhearing other residents talk about their training sessions with Sabrina [Weiss, personal trainer atEagle s Trace], I decided to sign up for five sessions. I couldn t believe the difference her simple exercises made. My back pain is almost gone, and my balance is greatly improved. Feeling good, Armstrong joined Wellness Coordinator Shirley Woods Silver Express class, which meets on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We stretch and do cardio, says Armstrong. It keeps me limber, and it s fun to work out with the same group of people each week. We ve formed a bond. Now, five years after she moved to Eagle s Trace, Armstrong is committed to keeping up her fitness regimen. I ve even started stretching in my apartment, she says. I never imagined that such simple changes could help me feel so good.

Bill Mellin

As former captain of the Duke University swim team, Eagle s Trace resident Bill Mellin knows a thing or two about competitive swimming. And now, on the cusp of his 80th birthday, Mellin s not showing any signs of slowing down in the water. He recently qualified to compete in three events the 50-, 100-, and 200-yard freestyle competitions at the 2011 Summer National Senior Games, hosted by Houston in June. When I first started swimming in the Senior Games, my goal was to see if I could compete at the local level, says Mellin. Once I advanced to state level, my goal was to make it to nationals. Now I want to see if I can hold my own at the national level. In the months leading up to the Senior Games, expect to find Mellin in the pool at Eagle s Trace seven days a week, building up his speed and endurance with wind sprints. I m hoping to swim a personal best this summer, he says. Of course it wouldn t hurt if I m faster than the other guys.

Richard Blanc

Richard Blanc, a retired Baptist minister, spent his career caring for the spiritual needs of his congregants. Now, the self-described people-person is learning new ways to connect with others in his community. When Blanc and his wife, Katherine, moved toHighland Springsin June 2009, he discovered that the community s in-house TV channel, run by a resident-led committee, was in need of a facelift. I m a problem-solver by nature, he says. When a need arises, I want to pitch in and find ways to help. Drawing from a working knowledge of computers, Blanc learned how to add and update content on channel 7. I recently put together a survey to solicit ideas for making channel 7 more user-friendly, he says. We re looking at ways to vary the programming, add music to the background, and possibly include a daily devotional. I ve got a lot of plans, he adds. Hopefully, people will want to start tuning in.

Phil Fabricius

When Phil Fabricius moved to Highland Springs from Overland Park, Kans., in January 2008, it didn t take him long to jump into community service. The retired computer programmer for the Department of Agriculture volunteers twice a week at the Medical Center of Plano. My wife was a scrub nurse for an orthopedic surgeon before she retired, so I was somewhat familiar with the medical field, says Fabricius, who worked in several departments before finding his niche in the emergency room. I love being a part of the action, he says. And in the true spirit of volunteerism, Fabricius takes the jobs that fall short of the most desired list. He stocks rooms, makes beds, and also supervises the training of high school and college volunteers who have expressed a desire to go into the health sciences field. Some of these kids come in wanting to be brain surgeons, and I teach them how to make up the beds, he says. They re not always happy about that, but it s essential that the rooms stay clean because you never know when the next ambulance will arrive. Fabricius plans to keep up his volunteer work in the New Year. It makes me feel useful, he says.