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“You put your feet in all the water,” said Friendship Village fitness specialist Morgan Noll, hired two months ago at the senior living community in Schaumburg. That’s a good metaphor for the recent graduate of Northern Illinois University, who earned a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on exercise physiology.
Morgan is referring to her search for employment after graduation, but it’s particularly appropriate for the avid fan of water sports. “I’ve always been a big water person,” said the 24-year-old, who is regularly in Friendship Village’s capacious swimming pool, guiding residents in the community’s various aquatic fitness programs.
In addition to water classes, the lifelong athlete leads various land-based classes, one of her favorites being the Forever Fit aerobics program that (like all fitness options at Friendship Village) offers different levels for all residents, depending on their ability. “We are always working to accommodate each individual and help them realize that, with the proper modifications, everyone can achieve fitness,” said Morgan.
Fitness offerings at Friendship Village (160 in all) focus on dexterity, strength, balance, mobility, and just plain fun. “If participants are having fun in fitness, they will be more willing to share their experiences and bring others with them,” said Morgan, who, along with team members Crista Adams and Julie Hubbard, makes sure there is a variety of offerings each month.
A former physical and occupational therapy technician, Morgan is not brand new to working with seniors, but she couldn’t be happier focusing exclusively on this population in her current role. “It is so rewarding to help them realize their actual potential and that they can still increase their strength and confidence,” she said. “And they’re so willing to try and grateful for how we help them.”
Morgan’s affinity for older adults may be attributed to her grandparents, who have lived less than five minutes from her south suburban home in Steger, IL, her whole life. “We have vacationed together, spent weekends, holidays and lunches together; we’re very close.”
She is especially warmed by the reception she has gotten from the entire Friendship Village community. “From the staff to residents and their families, everyone is so positive and involved. There’s always something going on here, and it’s all so well-organized.” Morgan added that she already feels like family among residents. “They have taken me in like I’m their own grandchild.”