Tom was 28 years old when a truck he was driving slid off a snowy road and hit a telephone pole. He suffered a traumatic brain injury. Growing up a quiet and somewhat reserved child, his mother passed away when he was twelve and his father passed away before he was thirty. An identical twin, he lived with his brother and took care of his two sisters.
“Tom was always there for us,” says Tom’s sister Heidi. “He would do anything for us. I remember he showed up one day when I was away at college and just gave me his car.” He said, ‘I’ll be fine without it, and you can use it.’”
Tom spent years in the hospital and rehabilitation, but over time his condition and abilities improved to the point that he could live independently. He liked working out when he could and caring for his beloved dog, Annie. “Annie had the same birthday as me,” says Tom, “but not the same year, of course!”
Five years ago he started experiencing seizures which his Neurologist indicates are not unusual for a TBI sufferer like Tom. Tom needed a higher level of care and thus began the search for a permanent living facility.
Tom moved into Douglas House in 2021 and appears to be thriving. He signs up for every possible activity, including cooking, Yoga, drumming, boxing and especially Neuro-Fit exercise. “I talked with Tom when he first moved in about what he wanted to focus on,” says Lindsay Weir, SLI’s Neuro-Wellness Program Manager. “He wanted to lose weight and be more active. He indicated he wasn’t sure of what to do in the gym, so the one-on-one class structure works well for Tom.”
“We ease new participants to Neuro-Fit exercise into the program, constantly assessing their ability and looking for improvements,” says Lindsay. “We saw that Tom could advance, so we started him on Boxing for Balance. He’s loving the classes. Takes advantage of any offered program, always bringing an upbeat attitude. I think Tom socializing with Douglas House residents and Neuro-Fit exercise class participants has really been a benefit to Tom.”
Tom’s sister Karen agrees. “He loves the exercise programs, and we’ve seen an improvement in his mood since he moved into Douglas House. He was always a quiet and reserved person, but he’s now interacting with the other residents and enjoying it.”
Tom also agrees. “When I was living alone, I used to work out, but I like the regular exercise class schedule at Douglas House. And I like having meals and talking with the other residents here. I’m in a good place.”