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Swimming Away the Pain

What would you look for when searching for the right senior living community? Riva Gruenberg had only one requirement on her list: a swimming pool. She was overjoyed to learn about the heated, saltwater pool at Folkestone, a PHS community located in Wayzata, MN. She moved in four months ago, and without hesitation, dove in to a new swimming regimen with the help of Folkestone’s Wellness Team.

Her priority is understandable. Thirty years ago, Riva needed a way to help ease the pain from her arthritis. Being a lover of water, her doctor suggested swimming as a mechanism for easing her discomfort. As an opportunity to do an activity she enjoyed while relieving her arthritis side effects, Riva began swimming the backstroke. Arriving in the wee hours of the morning, Riva would spend every day swimming at her local health club. During her time in the pool, thanks to her son-in-law, Riva would listen to her favorite music. Equipped with waterproof headphones, she would swim laps listening to the tunes of John Williams, Big Band, and Classical.

Her passion for swimming, coupled with its therapeutic benefits, made her decision to move to Folkestone an easy one. 

Riva’s love for the water goes way back. A native born Minnesotan, she grew up in north Minneapolis wading in the waters of Lake Harriett and Lake Calhoun. As a student at Lincoln Jr. High, Riva vividly remembers the day her teacher pushed her, and her fellow peers, into the swimming pool, “you really learned how to swim fast” she said. After that, she sought out opportunities to swim in the pool, and remembers how rare indoor pools were at the time.  

As an adult, Riva met and married her husband, Bud. The couple remained close to her childhood neighborhood in north Minneapolis and settled in St. Louis Park, MN. There they raised four children. During this time, her desire to swim never faded and when health issues arose, she used swimming to help ease the pain.

Now at Folkestone, Riva was introduced to Kathy Kmetz, Wellness Director, who has played an integral role in maintaining Riva’s daily swim schedule. As long as she was feeling up to it, Kathy planned daily half hour private swim sessions. “I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with Riva in the pool, doing relaxation therapy, personal training to incorporate some Arthritis Aquatics, and offer companionship” Kathy shared. “Riva was really great to work with and really enjoyed being in the water,” she said.

Recently, Riva’s health issues have required her to cease her daily dips in the pool. Despite this change, she reflects fondly on her nearly 30 year swim career and the countless early mornings spent swimming backstroke up and down the pool lane. For Riva, choosing Folkestone as her home began with one requirement, so what is the one thing you want to find in a senior living community? Contact a PHS community and we will help you find it.

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