Senior citizen thanks aquatics instructor for getting her through pandemic

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 6:38 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD Co., Va. (WWBT) - When it comes to the coronavirus, health experts say senior citizens run the highest risk of getting sick.

One Richmond senior loved going to the gym to work out and socialize, but her doctors wanted her to stay home. So for months, Karen Peters felt isolated at home, but her gym instructor found creative ways to keep her active.

Jennifer Perrin teaches group aquatic classes at the ACAC in Midlothian.

“It is all about stretching, strength, balance and just building that confidence inside yourself,” Perrin

Peters joined her warm water group aquatic class to build up her muscles shortly before knee surgery. She says she was pretty nervous, but the right instructor made all the difference.

“Jennifer was just so special and so kind. She was such encouragement to me all along because I don’t swim,” says Peters.

COVID put a stop to their progress, and Karen says she started gaining weight.

“It was just difficult, I found myself certainly not being nearly as active,” Peters said.

Jennifer came up with a solution, giving Karen a few exercises to do at home. Squats in front of the sink, calf raises next to the kitchen table, leg raises in the living room and a few breathing exercises.

Her kindness didn’t stop there, Jennifer went even further.

“I would keep in touch with her via text, call, email. I know what I was going through when things were shut down and you’re totally isolated, and this was their only outlet so I wanted to let them know that they have me to lean on,” Perrin said.

Jennifer even brought Karen a few groceries and delivered them, safely.

“I would leave them at the door and wave through the window,” says Jennifer.

It’s that kind of love and support that made Karen want to show Jennifer just how much those acts of kindness meant to her - giving her $300 in cash and a $50 gift card to Mexico Restaurant as part of NBC12′s Acts of Kindness.

“Thank you so much, Karen. I do this because I enjoy it. Selfishly I get more enjoyment out of doing this, I would almost do this without pay if I could,” Perrin said.

Classes are back in session and the two are enjoying their workouts once again.

“During our warm water sessions, we’ll be working on hug muscles,” Perrin said.

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