Regular exercise has major health benefits and is also important for older adults, which is where Beach Cities Health District’s (BCHD) MoveWell program comes in! The program pairs specially trained volunteers with older adults in the community who typically have difficulty getting to a gym or exercising regularly. These participants are also in BCHD’s Care Management program and MoveWell is designed to guide them through a series of physician-approved exercises, carefully designed by the BCHD team.
One of the wonderful volunteers in the BCHD MoveWell program is Amy Myers.
Amy first heard about the program in 2012, a few years after she retired, and has supported several older adults to keep moving since then. Amy spent her working years as a toy designer living in San Pedro but switched careers to run a studio and gallery for a mental health facility due to her desire to give back to others.
Each week for the past four years Amy has visited 88-year old Gussie in Redondo Beach. While Gussie doesn’t walk too far, she is fit and incredibly strong. Amy describes a typical session, “Gussie does three minutes walking in place followed by ten rounds of standing up and sitting down from a chair. Sometimes she can do that without using her arms to help push her up (she has a very strong core as well!). When doing bicep curls, most seniors would work towards lifting a one-pound weight; incredibly, Gussie lifts 10lbs!! Gussie has a big family and I always say that her strength is because she’s used to holding large trays of food for all her nieces, nephews and grandchildren. It really doesn’t matter what level she reaches, it’s simply about moving well!”
With the relaunch of the MoveWell program in January 2020, Amy has been asked to help train other volunteers interested in this role. “I would really encourage anyone with an hour to spare each week to get involved,” said Amy. “The great thing about being a MoveWell volunteer is that you don’t need to have a fitness background to do a great job.”
Each week Amy manages to blend her array of interests with her volunteering. She is incredibly talented at ceramics, attending classes twice a week and making a variety of beautiful animal figures. Amy stays fit and healthy herself by helping on her friend’s boat and often walks with other retired friends. However, travelling is Amy’s passion. “I love travelling all over the world visiting places such as Sicily and this year I’m going to Antarctica. While I do love to travel, I also get great satisfaction from volunteering with the MoveWell program. Every week I look forward to my time with Gussie; she’s become a wonderful friend.”
Written by Sue Murray, Volunteer Spotlight Writer