Maxwell F Better Breathing with Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation helped Maxwell Friedlich breathe better so he could get back to what he loves to do: teach others how to create stained glass art.

In March, Abhijit Chatterjee, MD, a geriatrician at the James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC), referred Maxwell Friedlich to pulmonary rehabilitation to help him breathe better. Maxwell, 89, of Manchester has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a condition called silicosis, in which there’s scarring in the lungs as a result of breathing in silica, a mineral found in sand, quartz, and other types of rock.

During rehabilitation, Maxwell performed upper arm rotations with five-pound weights strapped on his arms. He also walked on a treadmill and worked out on a recumbent bike.

He learned to inhale through his nose and exhale through his mouth, which helped improve his pulmonary function. “It makes breathing a lot easier,” he says.

Creating Works of Art

Abhijit Chatterjee, MD
Abhijit Chatterjee, MD

Breathing better allows Maxwell to continue to do one of the things he enjoys most: teach neighbors in his retirement community, Leisure Village West, how to create stained glass pieces.

Every year, he takes his students—who range in age from 65 to 97—to stained glass exhibits, such as a craft show in Philadelphia. He also takes his class to local exhibits, such as one at the historical society in Toms River.

One 96-year-old member of the group enjoys the class so much that he resisted his family’s efforts to relocate him.

“When people create a stained glass item, it’s very satisfying,” says Maxwell. “I told one retired elementary school art teacher that she was an artist after she created a piece, and she was thrilled.”

After a brief pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maxwell returned to pulmonary rehab and finished at the end of July.

“I’m functioning as well as possible, and I’m hoping to continue the program after I see my cardiologist for a checkup,” he says.

Maxwell is also pleased with Dr. Chatterjee’s care. “He was aware of what I was striving for,” he says. “He’s very knowledgeable about geriatrics.”

Convenient, High-Quality Care for Seniors

At the James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute, seniors benefit from the many services geared toward people who are 65 and older, including the following:

  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Audiology Services
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Support Groups
  • Imaging Services

To learn more, visit the James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute or call (732) 886-4700.