Gardens of Clanton residents taking steps for good health

Published 6:14 pm Monday, August 20, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Residents at the Gardens of Clanton assisted living facility have been participating in a senior wellness program called Step On It.

The goal of the program is to keep residents active by encouraging them to get up and walk, which promotes better health and reduces fall risk.

Residents are free to walk as much as they like each day, but staff members round up everyone who wants to participate Mondays at 10 a.m. for a group stroll.

“They have pedometers from Kindred at Home,” said Gardens of Clanton activities coordinator Tabitha Hines. “We have sheets where they can write down their steps each day. They usually do it inside because it gets so hot. When the fall comes, we will probably go outside a little bit. They walk up and down each hall twice. Some of them keep going, but I try to get them to do at least that much.”

While walking to stay active and become healthier are the main goals of the program, there is also another major objective for the Gardens steppers as far as the theoretical mileage they cover goes.

“They are trying to walk to the Grand Ole Opry (in Nashville),” Hines said. “I know that seems like a lot, but we have a couple that are doing pretty well. We have that walk on average about six miles a week. At the end of every week we tally up how many steps they have.”

Hines said the program is turned into a competition of sorts in order to help keep the residents interested and walking.

“They get really competitive, so they like it,” she said. “Each week, we give out certificates, like Stepper of the Week for the one who has the most steps, or Most Improved or All-Star. We also have spirit awards, because some of them don’t walk a lot, but they encourage others and do the best that they can.”

The current leader at Gardens with the most steps to her credit is Mildred Benton. As of a few weeks ago, Benton had 43,000 steps. Now she is closing in on, if not already surpassed, 50,000.

“I do enjoy it,” Benton said of the program. “We started it I think in January or February. Everybody signs up to do it. I came here June 1 of last year, and I always walked. I don’t like to sit all the time. It came naturally for me to do it.”

Hines said a lot of the other residents enjoy the program as well.

“It makes them happy,” she said. “At first, I didn’t know if they would like me getting them to exercise, but once you make it a competition, everything is OK.

“It helps them get to moving. At any age, if you sit still too long you can get pneumonia, blood clots, get stiff with back pain, things like that. It helps their joints. Some of them have lost some weight.”