CEDAR RAPIDS — On any given day, the 400-plus residents of Meth-Wick Community can choose from a variety of recreational activities.
Some residents of the Cedar Rapids senior living community may volunteer to make sandwiches for the Salvation Army. Others might opt to join a book club or Bible study group.
Still others will take a fitness class or participate in an off-site outing.
“We program in six different areas of whole-person wellness — spiritual, physical, social, intellectual, emotional and vocational,” said Eryn Cronbaugh, Meth-Wick’s director of wellness and recreation.
Cronbaugh estimates that roughly 80 percent of Meth-Wick residents participate in the community’s recreational programs on a consistent basis.
“We provide a large variety of activities and hope we can catch everyone,” she said.
Meth-Wick opened in 1961 as a joint effort of the B.L. Wick Foundation and the United Methodist Church to provide a home for seniors.
No longer affiliated with either organization, the not-for-profit now has a range of residential options from independent living in single-family homes, townhomes and condos located throughout the 68-acre campus for assisted living and 24-hour care.
Much of the recreational programming takes place at the Town Center, the social hub of the campus. Completed in a 2011 expansion and open to all residents, the Town Center includes a coffee shop, fitness center and library, among other amenities.
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Other activities are held at Meth-Wick’s two assisted living centers and one skilled nursing facility.
Cronbaugh and her group of nine certified therapeutic recreation specialists, fitness specialists and other staff use a program developed in-house, called WelTracs, to target health and wellness programs that match residents’ needs and preferences.
“New residents meet with our successful aging coordinator for an assessment to define their goals and plug them in to the places and things they are interested in,” Cronbaugh said. “It also helps us inform our own programming.”
One thing that kept coming up was residents’ desire for a pool.
“Initially we were thinking a lap pool, but that would be a pretty big expense,” Cronbaugh said. “Then we talked about a warm-water therapy pool and decided that really seemed like it would fit our needs for fitness and therapy.”
In 2016, Meth-Wick added two warm-water therapy pools to the campus. The 10-by-12-foot pools have adjustable floors that rise to deck level for entry and then lower to sitting or standing height, making them wheelchair accessible.
Treadmills are built into the floors, and underwater cameras allow users to monitor their gait.
Cronbaugh said the pools, which can fit up to four people at a time, are employed for many different purposes.
“They’re used for doctor-prescribed physical therapy, such as rehabilitation from surgery or a fall, and for strengthening before surgery,” she said. “My department uses them for water walking and aqua aerobic classes.”
Cronbaugh said it took a little while for the pools to catch on.
“Now they’re pretty busy most days,” she said. “We have one resident who’s in the pool for an hour every day. Others use them one, two, three times a week.”
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Because Meth-Wick is the only facility in the area with warm-water therapy pools, the venues also have drawn short-term rehabilitation residents.
Cronbaugh said she hopes to add another full-time employee to the fitness department in the coming months, which will allow for increased programming, expanded pool hours and more fitness classes.
l Businesses chosen to be featured in “A Day in the Life” were from those nominated for this year’s Gazette Business Awards. For information on the awards and the Oct. 30 banquet, go to TheGazette.com/2018BusinessAwards.
At a glance
l Business: Meth-Wick Community
l Address: 1224 13th St. NW, Cedar Rapids
l Website: www.methwick.org
l Number of employees: 200
l Years in Operation: 57