By Susan Saldibar
We have just wrapped up National Wellness Month, something you probably are well aware of. Are you putting your Wellness activities back in the box until next August? Hopefully not. If there is anything that deserves year-round attention and celebration it’s wellness, right?
Aegis Therapies (a Senior Living Foresight partner), as you may know, takes wellness very seriously. As a therapy provider, they want to make sure senior living communities not only understand what wellness is but that they have access to resources to help them put the tenets of wellness into play for the benefit of their residents and employees. Kathryn Abrahamson, Director of Corporate Communications for Aegis, shared with me a new resources section on their website. What I like about it is that the wellness section is very much geared toward individuals, and much of the material speaks to the role of wellness in daily living. Very cool.
One particular piece talks about “wellness intentions”, which is a really interesting way of framing the act of practicing wellness every day. I asked Kathryn how these same set of individual practices could be used in senior living communities. She told me that having residents set daily personal goals has a solid place in senior living communities. Being encouraged to take on these activities as individuals creates a sense of personal responsibility, which is so important in senior living. Otherwise, you’re simply relying upon the community exercise program and therapy visits, which relinquishes all control and, with it, a sense of purpose to ones’ daily life. I have to admit that makes a lot of sense.
Making a Commitment
With that in mind, here are three samples of Aegis Therapies’ personal intentions that senior living communities can incorporate into the lives of your residents:
- “I intend to strengthen and rejuvenate my physical body to look and feel healthy year-round.” Communities should be working with residents to build strength and attempt to reduce pain associated with aging and chronic illness. It is important to encourage follow-through on a daily basis.
- “I intend to feel safe and totally secure in order to live independently.” While this may sound like it’s geared towards those who continue to live at home, independence should be encouraged in assisted living communities. This involves building a circle of trust through secure relationships with key staff members as well as other residents within the community.
- “I intend to strengthen my relationships with family.” Residents often become isolated from family and former friends. It is important to encourage activities that include local family members. Working with family members and friends of residents can help re-establish connections. It’s also important to make sure family members are invited to events and encourage them to share memories of residents.
Aegis encourages senior living community team members to work with residents every day to help them establish a ritual of identifying a daily “intention” to enrich their lives. They put the challenge to senior living communities rather eloquently, “The hand that blisters from outrageous and unfair circumstances can be painful and a crushing blow. However, if you think in terms of developing calluses from these painful experiences and realize your limitless potential at any age, you will begin to guard your health with your life.” Powerful words of wellness that are motivating at any age.