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Agewell Senior Fitness

Bridging the Gap in the Wellness Journey of Life

Article by Rhonda Stephens

Photography by Jessica Patterson

Originally published in Frederick Lifestyle

Peter Knight, of Sabillasville, had not left his home for three years, aside from doctors’ visits. Wheelchair-bound, he faced an uncertain future from debilitating, chronic pain, which led to despair, and in turn, to depression. 

Peter’s wife, Kay, found herself greatly affected by her husband’s immobility. “It’s not just the patient that suffers; the family suffers too. My life was limited, and I was afraid to leave the house for fear that something would happen to him while I was away,” she says. When physical therapy was complete for Peter, and home health care could do no more, home health recommended that Peter call Agewell Senior Fitness. 

Joe Lohenitz, of Mount Airy, experiencing age-related sarcopenia and balance challenges, fell backward down the stairs and suffered a brain bleed. After surgery, he was sent to physical therapy to assist in regaining his strength. Once released from care and sent home, his daughter Sue Berube was concerned he would go backward in his recovery and abilities. So she reached out to Agewell Senior Fitness to assist with Joe’s strength and balance. 

Agewell Senior Fitness was created from a need. As a licensed Physical Therapy Assistant, Katrina Wolf recognized a gap in the wellness journeys of her patients’ care. Since physical therapy focuses on a specific medical diagnosis, they treat only that particular diagnosis and then release the patient. “What happens to the patient that is released and yet still has issues that the specific physical therapy can’t address? That was happening to my patients, and they would ask if I could come to their homes and work with them, but I was unable to accommodate them because my license restricted me,” she says. Katrina started thinking. “Well, they don’t need physical therapy since they’ve been released from it. What they need is to exercise, so I started Agewell Senior Fitness to be the bridge between physical therapy and being well at home,” says Katrina. Katrina and her teammate Bernadette Schwai, identify specific body weaknesses, and target those to get people stronger and mobile. “We have found our niche, and that is helping seniors maintain mobility and independence,” she says.

Katrina is an ACSM-certified Personal Trainer and an ACE-certified Senior Fitness Specialist and has over 20 years of physical therapy experience that she brings to the client at home. She and her team member, Bernadette, ACSM-certified personal trainer and Doctor of Physical Therapy, work with clients to improve mobility, balance, strength and endurance. They create personalized plans for each client to address individual needs, working with various exercise aids, such as resistance bands, weights and balls. Whether recovering from a setback or just needing a little help or direction, Katrina and Bernadette bring their warmth and enthusiasm to their clients as they work with them to achieve their goals. ”We have the freedom and ability to treat the whole person with total body wellness exercises.” Bernadette adds.

Both Joe and Peter are seeing the benefits of working with the women of Agewell. Joe’s daughter, Sue, has observed the overall health improvement since working with Agewell Senior Fit. “My Dad has really enjoyed the time he spends with Katrina. She doesn’t push but gets my Dad to do the exercises, and I’ve seen a difference in him as well as his physical abilities and balance.”

Peter says, “If it wasn’t for Katrina, I don’t know where I’d be. I was unable to walk three steps, and now I’ve got my life back! We even went on a cruise recently, and I have been on several fishing trips.” With personalized exercise training, Peter can now walk reasonable distances and enjoy being out with family and friends. Not only did Peter regain control of his life, but Kay did so as well. She beams with the gratitude she feels about having her husband mobile again and says, “Our lives are totally different, and now he brings me coffee!” 

  • Joseph Lohenitz works with Katrina to build strength.
  • Bernadette Schwai (left) with Katrina Wolf, owner of Agewell Senior Fitness
  • Peter Knight works with Katrina on balance.