Resident Spotlights, Wellness

Gaining independence: Dennis lives life to the fullest



Meeting the needs of people where they are at is important to us at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS). That’s why we felt blessed to hear Dennis’s inspiring testimony through a recent interview. After choosing PHS, Dennis gained independence in supportive community – and continues living life to the fullest.

image of Dennis at Fairway KnollDennis Allar, who lives at Fairway Knoll in Germantown, Wis., is no quitter. He believes life doesn’t stop just because he moved to assisted living.

“Whatever it is, I just don’t say no!” says Dennis, who shares a nugget of wisdom: “I think that when you lose your sense of curiosity, you take a lot out of your life.”

Dennis has an MBA and runs his own business from his office inside his spacious apartment. “I help make manufacturing plants safer,” he explains in the simplest terms.

And driving Corvettes – a passion of his – hasn’t changed from day one. In fact, Fairway Knoll’s underground parking became an important selling point for Dennis.

I’ve been a car person my whole life,” he noted. “I have one downstairs that I’m not getting rid of just because I’m living here.”

Whether continuing to cruise the open highway on a sunny day or surf LinkedIn for new business connections, life is good in assisted living, according to Dennis.

Dennis contends with a spinal condition he has lived with from birth. After little improvement due to recent spinal surgeries, Dennis discovered a solution in Fairway Knoll’s fitness center, which he describes as “worth its weight in gold.”

Now, seven days a week, Dennis boosts his strength and endurance using the Nustep® – a seated stepper machine. Progressing to level 11 of 15 in resistance, Dennis says he’s breaking gym records and “knocking down five to six miles in 60 minutes. At 76, I’m pretty pleased.”

Very little stops Dennis from achieving his goals. And staff are pleased to support him in any way they can.

Sue Luna, regional wellness coordinator, explains, “In our southeast Wisconsin communities, we have always promoted wellness. We believe that ‘physical’ is only one of the Dimensions of Wellness that we promote.  Our trainers look at the individual and do our best to provide engagement that suites them.”

image of Fairway Knoll fitness center“When Covid closed our fitness centers in March of 2020,” Sue continues, “Dennis was no longer able to use the NuStep. When we were able to open the fitness centers, it was initially only for independent living residents.  Knowing that this was such an important piece of Dennis’s Wellness program, we got creative and designated a temporary, separate room for Dennis to use a NuStep machine. He was thrilled!

Dennis is an inspiration and huge advocate of our Wellness program,” Sue concludes.

“He regularly encourages both residents and staff to meet our [fitness] trainers and become involved in some aspect of our Wellness program.”

And while it’s true that Dennis cherishes his gained independence, he remains deeply committed to the community. With his open mind and desire to help others, he’s gotten “to know everyone in no time flat,” he boasts.

For example, last December, he overheard a new resident say she was feeling down because she didn’t know if she could afford a visit to the salon before Christmas.

With his entrepreneurial mind, Dennis got to work. He organized a group of guys to each chip in $20, sending not one but 12 female residents to the Fairway Knoll salon. “In record time, we had everyone done by Christmas,” he said with a smile.

Whatever is on anyone’s mind, Dennis wants to know how he can help. Dennis is also a Resident Ambassador, who summarizes the best thing about life at Fairway Knoll: “You know, when you really come down to it, a place like this has so much diversity. You don’t have go far to feel that you’re no longer isolated by any stretch.”

Considering a change, but not sure where to start? If you’re exploring care options for yourself or a loved one, search Find a Community. Ready with questions? Connect with a Housing Counselor today.



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