The Elms Blog

Living in a Culture of Wellness

Nov 7, 2019

Julie Dowd Schaub, M.Ed, Director of Residency at The Elms

By Julie Dowd Schaub, M.Ed, Director of Residency

It’s not uncommon for unlikely circumstances to profoundly influence and shape our lives for years to come.  When I moved from Indiana to Massachusetts years ago, I lived next to Concord’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and its famous Authors Ridge.  The living garden was designed in 1885 to honor past souls including Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I’d walk my dog Gus and reflect on the authors’ writing including Emerson’s words of wisdom: “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” 

As a professional in the Senior Living industry, those words have always fueled my passion for helping people live their best life, even into their senior years.

The Elms Retirement Residence founded by Guy Maiorano in 1985 has led the way in senior living in the Westerly and Southeastern Connecticut region. Today, The Elms helps its residents live joyfully and productively, enjoying delicious mealtimes, thoughtful care solutions and innovative fitness options. Recently, The Elms has offered expanded wellness programming like meditation, chair yoga and soon strength training with occupational therapist assistant Bob LaValley.

Staff became enthusiastic when The Elms Carriage House Activity Director, Emmy Cornell, wanted to get certified by Rock Steady Boxing and bring Westerly Rock Steady Boxing and Silver Gloves programs to The Elms.  It was a natural fit!  Westerly Rock Steady Boxing leader Geoff Visiglio and Emmy Cornell are scheduled to speak about Rock Steady Boxing at The Elms, on Saturday November 16th at 11 AM.

Rock Steady Boxing gained national attention when CBS journalist Leslie Stahl aired the story on 60 Minutes in 2015. Stahl’s husband Aaron Latham had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was using the program to fight back against the progressive nervous system disorder. The practice of Rock Steady Boxing uses rigorous, non-contact boxing type exercises and is intended to counteract Parkinson’s progress. This type of specific rigorous movement, when performed correctly (non-contact) under the guidance of a licensed professional, creates a neurological protective response and slows down the disease process. The whole practice is counter intuitive, though has become life changing for thousands of participants. As Latham described, “First of all, putting on these great boxing gloves pumps you up and raises the spirits. Boxing puts you in a different frame of mind and gives you your courage back.”  The newly developing Silver Gloves Boxing program is designed with these same concepts and benefits for seniors without a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

The Elms Retirement Residence and campus community are looking forward to learning more about this unlikely combination – – our little bit of Emerson’s “drink the wild air.” 


To learn more, or to join us at our Westerly Rock Steady Boxing Open House on Saturday, November 16 at 11am, please contact The Elms at 1-401-596-4630.

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