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New wellness director seeks new ideas

[caption id="attachment_5970" align="alignleft" width="300"] Kaitlyn Hollaway, far right, joins Valerie Robbins, Melinda Ebersole and Sally Bender for our walking challenge this spring.[/caption]

Kaitlyn Hollaway is ready to be a resource for anyone at Newton Presbyterian Manor who wants to improve his or her health and wellness. But as our new wellness director, Kaitlyn is also eager to hear from residents and staff about new classes or events they would like to see.

"The goal is to make Presbyterian Manor an environment where it is easy to make healthy choices for your life," said Kaitlyn, who joined our team in April.

Kaitlyn plans to survey residents about their interests to add new exercise classes and other opportunities to get active. She is already developing cooking classes for residents and staff to learn easy, healthy recipes. And she's looking for ideas on outings and day trips that residents would like to take.

When Kaitlyn was getting her master's degree in exercise science at Wichita State University, she realized that aging baby boomers were about to drive a major shift in our population. So she opted to earn a certificate in aging along with her degree. As it turned out, the classes focused on aging had information on exercise and nutrition that can be applied to everyone.

Now, Kaitlyn is already working with other staff members to develop a wellness program for employees. She also teaches kids' nutrition classes and water exercise at the Wichita YMCA.

Before coming to Presbyterian Manor, Kaitlyn was a clinical research site manager for the KU School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.

"It was fascinating learning about depression, bipolar, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia in more detail, and it's mind-blowing how much we still do not know about those diseases," she said. "It really sheds a light on how many people are still suffering and how important research is."

At the Wellness Center, Kaitlyn gives tours and helps residents and other users set up individual fitness plans. To get started, she interviews people ahead of their visit to find out about what they want to work on, from strength and flexibility to improving heart health. When they come in, she gives tours and help them learn to use the equipment.

"Each of us is unique in personality and situation. I want to be able to take that uniqueness and help the individual develop a routine that works from them," Kaitlyn said.

Let's all be sure to give Kaitlyn a warm welcome to the Newton Presbyterian Manor family!

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