From the Editor

Debra does her bicep curls while seated. "It's good for the back. I prefer using the stability ball because it also activates my core while I try to keep myself steady." Photo used with permission.
Volume 23, Number 9: September 2022

A Great Fit!

The newest member of the IAHPC team, Membership Benefits Coordinator Debra Pledger-Fonte, has a vision for her future: providing self-care for older women, particularly palliative caregivers, through physical fitness.

“My daughter and I used to go to the gym, and I’d see women in their 50s and 60s being taught by 30-year-old girls. It was like, ‘I can’t do that! I’ve had kids, my bladder doesn’t work that way anymore. I’ve been sitting behind a desk for 40 years. I’ve gone through menopause. There are different things about my body.’”

She thought: “So much of our emphasis is on the patients: let me be there for the woman… I wanted to do something, and I like being around people.” Therefore, despite never having encountered the type of service she plans to provide, the idea of blending fitness with caregiving was a natural.

She plans to offer her services wherever the caregiver feels comfortable. “Since the focus is on them, they will decide.”

With 20 years of service in the military, Debra understands the importance of being physically active: it also improves a person’s emotional and mental state. So in 2020, at age 62, she signed up to do a B.A. in kinesiology. In August she aced that term’s finals and was bracing for more. Her full stint of education will be behind her in 2026, but friends and family member pressing her to start—with them—right now!

“It helps me stay physically active, too,” says Debra. “My previous work in hospice and palliative care showed me the importance of what is done as a team for the patient, but also for their family and friends.”

See Debra's bio.

—Alison Ramsey
IAHPC Newsletter Editor


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