One word that gets tossed around a lot in senior living communities is “wellness.” But what does it actually look like to promote wellness for seniors? Is it just about caring for physical health and basic needs, or does wellness go beyond that?
At St. Anthony’s, we believe in the importance of a holistic approach to wellness that cares for the entire person. Let’s talk about what this looks like in senior wellness programs!
Why Senior Wellness Programs Matter
Wellness is necessary for every person, no matter their age, gender, or life circumstance. People who prioritize wellness have better cognition, increased self-esteem, more confidence and independence, and even experience better overall health and longevity.
According to the National Wellness Institute, there are six dimensions of wellness that help a person to function productively and happily in their environment. These dimensions include:
While we do incorporate each of these dimensions into wellness at St. Anthony’s, we’ve broken them down into three separate categories of wellness: physical, mental, and spiritual.
Physical Wellness in Senior Living
Physical wellness is not the same thing as physical health. Where health refers to the lack of illness and having a sound body, physical wellness is more broad. Seniors who practice physical wellness should be moving around every day, even if it’s just walking down the hallways with a friend or attending a chair exercise class a couple of times a week. It’s not about the state of your body — it’s about what you are doing to take care of your body regularly.
Here are some other examples of activities to promote physical wellness through a senior wellness program:
- Group walks through the gardens
- Exercise classes
- Physical therapy support on site
- Off-campus shopping trips
- Morning stretches
Physical Wellness at St. Anthony’s
At St. Anthony’s, we provide several programs and activities to encourage physical wellness among residents. The St. Thomas More Wellness Center offers a variety of exercise classes and equipment to support seniors of all fitness levels and abilities. For assisted living and memory care residents who may have limited mobility, we exercise together regularly throughout the week to encourage continued physical activity.
Independent living residents are encouraged to socialize with staff, loved ones, and each other through physical exercise, whether that be popping off campus to run errands or planning daily walks in the visitation gardens.
Mental Wellness in Senior Living
Mental wellness includes everything from cognitive function to emotional well-being. It can be tended to through occupational activities, social engagement, and practical routines like getting enough sleep and having healthy amounts of time alone to process the day’s events.
It’s common for seniors to experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially if they have just moved to a senior living community far from their loved ones and haven’t made any new friends yet. This is why it’s so important for senior living communities to promote mental wellness beyond having a fun activities calendar (though this can be an excellent resource).
Mental Wellness at St. Anthony’s
While our activities calendar is packed with fun social events and creative outlets like art, happy hour, and board games, we don’t just check mental wellness off the to-do list and move on. We truly love our residents and see them as family, so our caring staff makes it a priority to help them get involved.
We host parties to welcome new residents and get them connected with their fellow seniors, as well as the staff. Our caregivers also actively participate in activities with residents, often becoming their dearest friends and companions.
Spiritual Wellness in Senior Living
Not everyone thinks of spirituality when they think of wellness. Still, there’s a reason it’s included as one of the six dimensions by the National Institute of Wellness, which is a secular organization! It doesn’t take a specific faith or belief system to see the value of spiritual practice for wellness. Spirituality gives life meaning and purpose beyond ourselves. It helps us to feel more confident in who we are and trust in something greater than this life.
Spiritual Wellness at St. Anthony’s
As a proud Catholic senior living community, we at St. Anthony’s see the importance of spiritual wellness in our residents and staff. We have a chapel on site with Catholic priests, along with the Sisters of St. Anne who are always available to care for our residents’ spiritual needs. For those who aren’t able to make it into the chapel itself, such as our assisted living and memory care residents, we livestream Mass services from the chapel to the dining room and have scheduled times for praying the Rosary and Bible studies with our staff.
While our spiritual focus is Christian in nature, we welcome seniors of all faith backgrounds to come and join the St. Anthony’s family! Your spiritual journey is personal, and we are happy to love and support you no matter where you are on your faith walk.
Be Well at St. Anthony’s
This is just a brief taste of what wellness looks like at St. Anthony’s. We value our residents and create an environment where they feel loved and supported. Our goal is not to dictate what wellness looks like for all residents, but to provide opportunities to practice holistic wellness and encourage our residents to create the life they want within our community!
If you or a loved one are considering senior living, we’d love to invite you to explore St. Anthony’s. Contact us to schedule a tour and see what it’s like to come stay, play, and pray with us!