14 Oct Aging in Place: Whole Person Wellness
By Lisa Kiely
In July of 2004, shortly after coming to Park Springs Continuing Care Retirement Community in Stone Mountain, Ga. our executive staff set out to implement a program that would later be known in our community as the Six Areas of Wellness. Although it is not a new concept, I wanted to help redefine what this term meant. To do so, we asked our Members to take a survey about wellness and what the word “wellness” meant to them. We quickly learned that our definition was not exactly the same as theirs. The answers from the survey allowed us to readjust our objectives and to appreciate the concerns of our Members.
In creating our Six Areas of Wellness, our goal was to create an environment that would allow our Members to live an independent lifestyle as long as their health would allow. To do so, we made it a priority to offer educational, recreational and cultural programs that focused on a variety of aspects. Currently we have over 50 activities planned each month and 108 special interest groups on site. Our vision has always been to create an environment that promotes wellness and personal growth by including the following Six Areas of Wellness:
Occupational, Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Psychological.
Occupational Wellness involves preparing and making use of ones skills and talents. Because we offer numerous events and activities we have the ability to help move Members from casual to connected relationship. A casual Member might attend a few events, but often does not engage with any of our other Members. When I see this type of behavior, I will try to “connect” with that Member by inviting him/her to one of our events. A personal invitation allows that Member to not only feel special, but it also obligates them to follow through on my invitation. Once I have been able to connect with him/her, that Member will often times become what we like to call a “committed member”
Physical Wellness is necessary not only for our Members physical well being, but their mental well being as well. A proper diet also allows our Members to maintain the strength and determination they need to carry out daily objectives. Recently, our community participated in the DeKalb County Senior Olympics and took home a few medals. Staying fit and active allows Members to participate in something meaningful, which in turn raises their self-esteem and keeps them involved in mind, body and spirit.
Social Wellness is necessary for a full and complete life. Relationships play an important part of who we are and how we feel. They also provide us with a support system during tough times and a place to express joy in times of happiness. Social Wellness involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive intimate relationships as well as fostering a general connection with everyone around you. It’s also about learning how to balance your social life with your personal life. Throughout the year we hold numerous social activities and we have found that our members at times like doing things out of the ordinary or things that may be unexpected. Daily routines are important, but it is also important that our Members get out of the community from time to time to enjoy everything that life offers.
Intellectual Wellness concerns our Members ability to think, organize, learn and remember. We offer numerous activities in our community that challenge our members to keep learning. Recently, we had close to 10 Members sign up to continue their education at a local college. Keeping a sound mind by participating in activities such as bingo, bridge, language studies, bible study and painting allows our Members to engage with their peers in activities that they enjoy.
Psychological Wellness is the ability to feel and express emotions such as happiness, anger and sadness. It is one of the key components of anyone’s overall well-being and allows our Members a way to manage their stress while maintaining their self esteem. By participating and interacting our Members are able to keep balance in mind, body and spirit.
About the Author
Lisa Kiely is Leisure Services Director for Isakson Living’s Park Springs, an Atlanta Continuing Care Retirement Community in Stone Mountain. Kiely has been with Park Springs for four years; in her current position there she oversees activities for over 650 members in independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.
Prior to joining Park Springs, Kiely was Activities Director for four years with Lake Forest Good Samaritan Village and Wellness Director with the YMCA for ten years. Kiely is a Community Life Services Resource Consultant for Life Care Services, one of the nation’s leading senior community management companies. In addition, Kiely teaches exercise classes at the YMCA, trains instructors for the YMCA and hosts wellness clinics and seminars. A graduate of Texas Woman’s University, Kiely is a Certified Activities Director, Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer and has taught aerobics since the early 80’s.
About Park Springs Medical Services
Park Springs’ Medicare certified clinic is led by Board Certified Geriatrician Dr. Margaret White and two geriatric nurse practitioners. The staff specializes in comprehensive care for older adults. Clinic services are available to all members. In addition to providing medical care, the clinic provides education, health monitoring and wellness promotion. Those members that require skilled nursing are able to receive care for 90 cumulative days free of charge
About Park Springs
Park Springs is a 398-home campus-style community that is situated on 54 acres and surrounded by Stone Mountain Park. A 64-suite health center provides assisted living, skilled nursing and dementia/Alzheimer’s care. The campus style community boasts a 50,000 square foot clubhouse serving meals in four themed dining rooms daily and a 12,000 square foot fitness center with an indoor swimming pool. The Seniors Housing Council of the National Association of Home Builders named Park Springs a Platinum winner. Park Springs is developed by Isakson Living and managed by Life Care Services LLC (LCS), a leader in senior living communities. LCS today serves more than 23,000 residents daily in over 80 communities nationwide. For more information on Park Springs, call 770-879-5006, 800-267-7126 or visit http://www.parkspringscommunities.com.