Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Cleveland

Wellness Programs
Contribute to Physical, Nutritional & Spiritual Well Being

Madelyn DeMichele, a resident of a local continuing care community, is not about to let age get the best of her. She has responded to the challenges of aging by watching her diet, exercising regularly, and participating in activities that meet her spiritual needs -- and stimulate her creativity.

As a participant in a new Strive 2 B Well program, Mrs. DeMichele has a sense of accountability to herself to maintain her good physical and spiritual health by attending morning Mass and eating and exercising properly.

“I had been living at home for the past 11 years since my husband died,” said Mrs. DeMichele, a resident since November 2011. “During that time I was unable to attend Mass. Now I attend Mass every day, which is amazing to me.”

Mrs. DeMichele also exercises for 30 minutes each day and has been taking advantage of the healthy chef-prepared meal selections afforded to her in the dining room at meal times.

Senior citizens like Mrs. DeMichele face many questions when they set out to find an assisted living community that is appropriate for their needs. Improving and maintaining their active lifestyle and quality of life through a structured wellness initiative is one area that should be at the top of their checklist, said Suzanne Nall, RN, LNHA, Executive Director at the Village at Marymount.

The goals of a senior health or wellness program should be to educate seniors on how to best manage their health and activity levels for optimal function and performance.

“An assisted living facility’s wellness program should incorporate a balance of healthy exercise and nutritional options with life enrichment and spiritual activities that encourage an energetic lifestyle,” Nall said. “The primary focus of any wellness initiative should be to have a full house of happy residents who are physically healthy and have a sound body.”

Key aspects of a structured wellness program include:

Properly guiding the behaviors, habits, and lifestyle of seniors can help them to live a longer and healthier life, said Karen Ann Schaefer, Director of Marketing at the Village at Marymount. Many assisted living communities are incorporating such dietary options as a salad bar and healthy menu options, and fun fitness programs like Zumba dance and Seniorcise classes into a resident’s daily routine.

“We have noticed that many of our residents who participate in our new Strive 2 B Well initiative started by watching others do Wii bowling, an art project, Zumba, or another activity,” Schaefer said. “By the end of the week they took a pledge to become more physically active and to make changes to their overall health and fitness levels.

Together, residents can enjoy the friendly competition and camaraderie that comes with a diverse wellness program.”

Schaefer said residents are constantly challenged and afforded new opportunities to use their mind to think through a problem and to participate in the environment of the community.

Smart nutrition and planned diets are essential to proper assisted living care, Schaefer said. Many assisted living facilities provide daily chef-prepared meals, hearty healthy menu items, and decadent treats that improve nutritional intake.

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