William is a resident at Living Springs Senior Residence in Delanco, New Jersey. When Better Tomorrows first met William, he was scooter bound as a result of an excessive weight condition. Basic physical functions including walking and breathing were extremely difficult for William. Uncomfortable with his condition and suffering from depression, he confined himself to his apartment, actively avoiding public places and encounters with the community. A soft-spoken, seemingly shy gentleman with a kind heart, the Better Tomorrows staff knew William deserved more than isolation.
The Better Tomorrows staff eventually convinced William to leave his apartment and participate in community-based programming. Given his health concerns, staff connected him with on-site Better Tomorrows healthcare workshops. One of these workshops was the Chronic Disease Self- Management Program. This six-week program, aptly dubbed “Take Control of Your Health Workshop,” aims to help individuals with chronic illnesses improve their overall health and wellbeing. Topics for the course include “Making an Action Plan,” “Dealing with Depression” and “Physical Activity and Exercise.”
Once the program began, William became extremely committed to course. He took the new knowledge to heart and started taking control of his health. At home, he applied the information he learned in the course. He practiced exercises shown to increase mobility, decrease depression and elevate overall confidence. He made attempts to be more social, and, at the encouragement of Better Tomorrows staff, William even decided to participate in the workshop’s community graduation.
By May 2013, William had completed the Chronic Disease Self- Management Program. Considering that just months before he had elected to isolate himself in his home, his participation in the communal graduation was quite impressive. However, what Mr. Yerkes achieved during the ceremony was by far his most impressive feat yet. As the graduates’ names were called, each was escorted to the center stage by a volunteer. When it became William’s turn, he suddenly undid his scooter restraints, stood up, and walked by himself to receive his certificate. This was the first time in several years that he was able to walk some distance without assistance. As he made his dissent down the aisle, the room erupted with applause with many audience members overcome by tears of joy. In his acceptance speech, William shared his past struggles, current progress and hopes for the future. He expressed his gratitude with the Better Tomorrows staff who helped him leave his self-inflicted isolation and encouraged him to take charge of his health.
Now an active resident, William continues to set manageable health goals with the Better Tomorrows staff. He has become more social and can often be found happily participating in community programming.
"I feel very blessed and important that Better Tomorrows felt the need to provide me, with all of the educational, social, and cultural services they have brought to Living Springs. I continue to be amazed by the quality, care and concern shown by the staff. I thought I was beyond help, but Better Tomorrows proved that was wrong."
Help people, like William, live long and healthy lives here.