Residents Stay Active Amid COVID-19 Social Distancing

Category: Community Life

Over the past several weeks, Beacon Hill has been focused on keeping residents engaged in creative ways amid socializing limitations stemming from COVID-19. This rings true for Shannon Nevins, the community’s wellness director who oversees fitness initiatives, many of which are traditionally conducted in person and in large groups. With no previous filming experience, Nevins pivoted to shooting instructional exercise videos so residents could participate within the confines of their homes.

“Keeping everyone healthy and safe during this challenging period comes first, so we gladly cancelled everything,” explained Nevins. “But staying active is a very important part of healthy aging. We had to think fast and get creative with how we would provide that to residents despite the restrictions.”

Fortunately, Beacon Hill is equipped with broadcast equipment, including video editing software. With an abundance of online information about how to film, Nevins learned how to shoot and edit video within a week of social distancing going into effect. She has now filmed various
30- to 45-minute exercise clips that are broadcast on Beacon Hill’s internal TV channel. The videos are also uploaded on the community’s app and YouTube channel.

“I just try to have fun with it and keep it as similar as possible to how I would teach a regular class in person,” said Nevins, noting residents have taken a liking to the new format.

One of these residents is Donna Larson, an 89-year-old fitness fanatic. Larson, a National Senior Olympics gold medal holder who chose to move to Beacon Hill largely for its active aging initiatives, is happy she’s able to participate in the virtual classes.

“I can’t say enough positive things about what Shannon is doing with the videos,” said Larson. “It’s great that it’s there and anyone who wants to can use them. The classes are excellent, and she has exercises for people of all fitness levels.”

Nevins says the videos have also captured an audience that conventionally wouldn’t attend her
in-person sessions.

“A lot of residents have shared that they’re doing a lot more than they typically would, because it’s convenient,” she said. “They absolutely love it. They love it so much that they’re asking us to keep it going after everything is back to normal.”

It’s a wish set to be fulfilled.

“I think after all this is over, I’ll still do the videos for the residents who prefer to participate that way,” added Nevins.