Cathy Monbrod has always exercised. Swimming. Biking. Walking.
But as the 84-year-old aged, her ability to do the activities she enjoyed started to slip away.
“So, you keep doing what you can,” Monbrod said. “I think sometimes older people get discouraged because they try to do younger exercises.”
Fortunately, Monbrod said, she found a place where she can safely exercise, a place tailored to help boomers and those with balance issues stay active: Boomerang Therapy Works.
Monbrod has an autoimmune disorder that comes with complications like bronchitis, which she is currently fighting, and she also needs a heart valve replacement. Despite those medical conditions, her doctor instructed her to stay active.
“I had to find something that was accommodating,” she said.
She found JJ Flentke at Boomerang a few weeks ago.
Flentke and Teresa Terry opened the downtown Vancouver gym in June after outgrowing their space at the Quarry Senior Living in east Vancouver. At the Quarry, they grew a client base largely of those with Parkinson’s disease and balance issues. But at the new gym, and the program in east Vancouver, the focus is more broad: Keep seniors active.
If You Go
• What: Boomerang Therapy Works.
• Where: 210 W. Fourth St., Vancouver.
• When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; by appointment Saturday.
• More: 360-258-1637 or www.boomerangtherapyworks.com
“I think seniors need a healthy place to be healthy,” Flentke said.
Flentke is a licensed physical therapist and a Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults through the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy. She’s one of six clinicians at Boomerang. The gym, at 210 W. Fourth St., offers physical and occupational therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, nutritional therapy, group classes and support groups for patients and caregivers.
While many of their clients are referred by a physician — they accept Medicare and private insurance — referrals aren’t required.
“It’s not medical,” Terry said. “We’re trying not to have a medical feel. We want people to feel like they’re here to be healthy, not to be treated.”
Typically, new clients see Flentke for a couple of weeks so she can make an assessment and workout plan. Some clients move on and exercise at their own gym, returning months later for another assessment. Others begin one-on-one physical therapy with Flentke and sign-up for group classes, such as boxing, at the gym.
The goal, Flentke said, is to help people thrive as they get older, even if they have Parkinson’s disease or neurological disorders or balance issues. But too often, Flentke said, physical therapists and trainers are afraid to push seniors.
“I’m amazed at what some of my 95-year-olds can do,” Flentke said.
“Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t get stronger,” she added.
For Monbrod, the push from Flentke is just what she needs to stay active.
“I’m hooked,” she said. “This is the best.”