Physical therapy at Providence Benedictine Nursing Center now includes real-life terrain that people may encounter when they leave the center. Practicing balance and mobility here prepares them to return safely to their own homes.

Boy Scouts of local Troop 485 partnered with Providence Benedictine Foundation to create a terrain park, featuring different types of outdoor surfaces and tasks, such as opening a closing and garden gate.

“This project fit in perfectly for my school’s 10th grade service theme this year: Caring for the Elderly," said Rieve Randall, Eagle Scout candidate and project organizer. "It brings me an enormous amount of joy when I think that in some small way I have helped serve the needs of the elderly and allowed them to stay safe, whether at Providence Benedictine Nursing Center or at home.” He is a sophomore student at Blanchet Catholic School in Salem which has a history of service with Providence Benedictine.

“The park provides the types of environmental challenges our patients frequently experience outside their home - loose gravel, uneven ground, rock pathways, stepping up onto a deck, opening and closing a gate, even managing a garden hose,” said Rhett Randall, physical therapist and assistant scoutmaster for Troop 485.

With the watchful support of therapists, patients navigate the park with the cane, walker or wheelchair they might use at home. The park enhances the center’s already thorough physical rehabilitation program. “There are a lot of outdoor experiences that you can’t re-create indoors,” said Karina Montgomery, the center’s rehabilitation manager. “This collaboration between donors and scouts will help our patients avoid broken arms and hips, which are dangerous and not easy to recover from.”

Sixteen scouts, friends and family helped with the park’s construction. “Throughout the whole process I found myself asking the question, ‘What does real service look like?’,” he said. “Looking back, I can say that service isn’t just a one-time act, but a commitment to helping others in every way possible.”

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