Once upon a time, activity and recreational programs in senior communities were typically low priority. Yet as the senior population continues to surge, many senior living communities have gone back to the drawing board on ways to enhance senior wellness and promote life enrichment.
In expanding their focus, many are finding they can’t go it alone. They’re looking for trusted partners to extend in-house resources and design an engaging, person-centered experience.
Prioritizing Senior Wellness
Baby Boomers – those 77 million babies born between 1946 and 1964 – have long grown up. And they aren’t going gently into their golden years. They’re demanding wellness as a way of life. To speak to the needs of this surging demographic, senior living communities are pursuing senior wellness programs that promote health, happiness, and whole-person development.
“Today’s seniors are more educated, more proactive, and more vocal than ever before,” says Callie Whitwell, chief operating officer, and founding partner at Lifetime Wellness. “They are clear in their expectations to live fully and age successfully. No matter what age, mental state, or physical condition, everyone has the potential for wellness,” Whitwell continued.
The Importance of a Well-Rounded Resident Wellness Program
A wellness program benefits residents and senior living providers alike. For residents, it can lead to increased independence, reduced medications, and fewer hospital visits. For senior living providers, it can yield greater resident satisfaction and influence occupancy by promoting enhanced services through intentional marketing.
Often a wellness program is a key differentiator for seniors and families in choosing a living community. “Beyond providing quality care and comfortable living accommodations, a facility that offers the right mix of engaging programs to support healthy living is clearly the best choice overall,” Whitwell says.
“Simply stated, providing a quality senior wellness program is the right thing to do. Yet administrators and directors of nursing have so many demands on them that this goal may fall down the priority ladder. Many communities are opting to outsource all or a part of their wellness program to a company like ours. It may require more of an investment than a traditional activity program, but the cost is rapidly offset by the exceptional program results.”
Customizing Your Senior Wellness Program
“We work with senior living providers to transform their facilities into communities of wellness,” Whitwell says. “Programs are custom-tailored to the provider’s collective mission and to the resident’s individual needs.”
In the Lifetime Wellness model, wellness includes six dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and social. “This model promotes healthy aging based on an integrated approach to living longer and healthier lives,” Whitwell says.
The six dimensions of wellness include:
- Physical: Exercising regularly through such activities as brisk walking, fitness classes, and yoga and Tai Chi; eating nutritious meals and sleeping well
- Emotional: Feeling positive and enthusiastic about life; coping with stress, depression, and life-changing events in productive ways through such programs as aromatherapy and Music & Memory
- Spiritual: Growing in the quest for meaning and purpose in life, participating in daily devotions or meditation, and exploring and enjoying nature
- Intellectual: Flexing the “mind muscle,” solving problems resourcefully, and enjoying lifelong learning
- Vocational: Cultivating hobbies, learning new skills, and volunteering
- Social: Building healthy relationships; finding opportunities to connect, socialize, and create community
“It’s like the spokes of a wheel,” Whitwell explains. “When one or more spokes is missing or falls short, it can throw off our balance. We need all six dimensions to keep our lives healthy and forward-moving.”
Partnering with Lifetime Wellness
Senior living providers who outsource part or all of their activity and wellness programs can not only meet but also exceed CMS requirements. An innovator in helping senior living communities reframe their approach to activity programs – and stay ahead of the compliance curve – is Texas-based Lifetime Wellness. Since 2005, the company has provided person-centered wellness, life enrichment programs, and recreational programming to independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and memory care facilities.
Lifetime Wellness has created three levels of opportunity for program enhancement: 1) ready-to-purchase programs and kits that can be easily implemented to better engage residents, 2) comprehensive programs with training and resource support for staff, and 3) full wellness department outsourcing, providing employment, staffing, and department management.
If you’re ready to experience the benefits of senior wellness and life enrichment in your community, contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!