Y Programs are Helping in Her Healthy Journey

My Y Story: Susan Elsass

Susan Elsass


Susan Elsass’s sons were Y kids growing up. They both learned to swim at the Y and her oldest son attended Camp Sargent and summer camps at the Merrimack Y. “I felt I knew the Nashua community very well. I knew some of what the Y offered, but didn’t know the full extent of the Y’s work and now understand what a community gem it is,” she shared. Susan has recently engaged in several of the Y’s healthy living programs while facing some challenges with her health.

Three years ago Susan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It was during her involvement with the Southern New Hampshire Weight Management Program* held at the YMCA that Susan learned about Pedaling for Parkinson’s Program also offered at the YMCA. She was happy to learn from Dr. Catania at SNHH about the Y’s program to support her after she underwent gastric bypass surgery. “It was great to be with people who understand what we are all going through (in their weight loss journey.),” she shared.

“I loved the seven week program – It’s awesome because I was with people who have been through or planning to go through the same (weight loss) experience. I appreciate this about Y programs, bringing people together with like experiences who can support each other.”

Susan’s weight loss cohort wrapped up their session in August. Over the summer, she joined the Pedaling for Parkinson’s classes and Movement for Better Balance classes. There was a wonderful sense of community in these groups.

“I do better when I have a commitment (going to a planned class). If I know my trainers Liz Kaas and Colleen Chapdelaine are waiting for me, I’m going. This has been my re-introduction to working out after a five plus year break,” she said.

Susan raves about her Y instructors. When asked about her Y experience she said: “I would say you will be in this community of people who will support you, will welcome you, and will understand your challenges. These are Instructors who care. I feel safe in this environment. I’ve learned to feel comfortable to do more things, reinforcing for me that my movement is still a possibility for me. There are opportunities to move in different ways. I learned this is the Movement for Better Balance class. I’ve pressed myself a bit beyond my comfort zone and that’s helped me to feel more confidence in my ability to move better.”

“My two favorite physical therapists are coming to the Y do a Movement for Parkinson’s class for us. They are happy I’m taking this Y program and have seen my progress.”

She added, “People of all abilities should feel comfortable and confident that they can find a place at the Y. I love the multi-generational feel of being at the Y. It’s so great when kids in the child care program walk by our Pedaling for Parkinson’s class and wave,” she said.

*In collaboration with the YMCA of Greater Nashua, Southern New Hampshire Weight Management at Southern New Hampshire Health is now in its fourth session of a new eight-week weight loss course that features both lectures and exercise instruction. To learn more about this program, click here: https://www.snhhealth.org/weightloss


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