Deena Hamer

Snow all over and deep snow at that. COVID-19, sure that too. Yes, but today lets be grateful for the Decatur County YMCA. Something fairly new there has caused me to be thinking just how lucky we are to have such a great Y.

Nelson Mowrey, who in 1914 made it possible for us to have a YMCA, must be very happy with what it has done for us. And lucky that those who worked so hard and gave so much to get our new building up and going.

Heaven knows I’ve taken advantage of the gym and got to know some of the teachers over the years. What astonished me most was when Deena Hamer, a 17-year employee of the Y, can also work with those who have a chronic disease.

It was a special day when I learned that the Y and Deena was working with a man I knew who had Parkinson’s Disease. I had a new respect for our YMCA, for Denna and those who work there.

Deena said the Y started the Chronic Disease programs in 2016 after she and Dawn Ernstes attended a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring training in Chicago in April 2016.

“Since then,” she said, “evidenced based programs such as our Diabetes Prevention class, our Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring and Freshstart programs have been offered. Freshstart is a tobacco cessation program to help those who smoke quit.”

In recent years, Deena said they’ve added more evidenced based classes to the schedule.

“Enhanced fitness was on the schedule for about two years through a grant that we received through Thrive Alliance. We hope to bring that class back. One of our newest evidenced base programs that I am very passionate about is our Parkinson’s Disease program called Delay the Disease,” Deena said.

Deena and Dawn Ernstes attended training in 2019.

“The two day training was at Ohio Health Hospital in Columbus, Ohio,” she said. “Class participants go through a few assessments when beginning the course, then reassessed after 12 to 16 weeks. We’ve had positive results. “

Throughout their training they learned that the class improves cognitive and motor skills, works on multi-tasking, speech and voice.

“We also work a lot on cardiovascular and strength exercise,” Deena said. “Getting the heart rate up through cardiovascular exercise is proven to improve a person’s thought process, helping with multi-tasking, speech, and other movement control. The strength exercise is to build up and keep ones strength to help keep them active and mobile. All exercise helps with blood circulation, which keeps everything moving better along with keeping your mind fresh.”

And, she has high hopes for additional programs in the future.

“We do not currently have a program specific to help with Alzheimer’s,” she said, “but I believe that Delay the Disease would help. Exercise will slow the progression of Alzheimer’s as well as other problems.”

Deena hopes in the future more people with a chronic disease will give the programs some thought.

And, she said, “If anyone has a loved one or friend with these diseases, please reach out to me, Deena Hamer or Dawn Ernstes at the Decatur County Family YMCA for more information. Our number is (812) 663-9622, email: deenah@dcfymca.org or dawnb@dcfymca.org

“Being sedentary is not an option,” Deena said.

And she means everyone, even those who have no problem right now with their health. She works hard and expects the same from us if we’ve sought her help at the Y. Since she went to work at the Decatur County YMCA 17 years ago, she has taken fitness courses immediately after being hired and has never stopped.

She has continued to learn and has taken a variety of classes to keep up with the trends and broaden her education on anatomy and chronic disease but, she said, “some come and go, but for the most part, most things have stayed about the same.”

Excuse me for repeating but I hope if you want or need more information you won’t forget that you can call Deena Hamer or Dawn Ernstes at the Decatur County Family YMCA for more information. The number is (812)663-9622, email: deenah@dcfymca.org or dawnb@dcfymca.org.

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