The closing of Westlake Hospital will have a definite detrimental effect on me and my arthritic body. I was diagnosed with arthritis some fifty-six years ago. Yep, that’s right. I was diagnosed at age thirty. I’ve been using aqua aerobic exercise as a way to keeping flexible starting with five thirty in the evening classes in the swimming pool in the basement of what was once the nursing school connected with Oak Park Hospital. When that pool started to leak and it was closed, I went over to PAV YMCA in Berwyn for a while, but as I grew older the colder water for the regular pool caused my arthritic body to ache so much that I found it almost too painful to get the exercise I so sorely needed. Then I learned the Westlake had a warm water therapeutic pool and I’ve been faithfully attending classes twice weekly for over fifteen years. My rheumatologist from Northwestern Hospital agreed that the warm water exercise kept me going. Yes I could go to Loyola, but to be honest when I went there my ancient body in a bathing suit seemed to be frowned upon by those sleek exercisers. Westlake welcomes we seniors, and the classes many of us sorely need will be almost impossible to duplicate elsewhere if the facility is closed.

Mary Richie

Forest Park resident