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The Importance of Wellness Programs in Senior Living

group of four senior friends having a cup of tea

According to a report by Consumer Healthcare Products Association, 80% of Baby Boomers say they’re taking more responsibility for their health, determined to “be in their best mental health, to remain independent, to be in their best physical health, and to live a long life.” With the clout that defines this generation, Boomers’ determination to age successfully is shaping the senior living industry. And retirement communities are responding by offering an array of opportunities that support mind, body and spirit.

Why Are Health and Wellness Important?

A longitudinal study by the MacArthur Foundation debunked the myth that aging is synonymous with declining health. In fact, their research suggests that 70% of physical aging and 50% of mental aging is determined by lifestyle choices. Healthy choices — eating well, staying active, challenging your mind, connecting with others — are keys to a longer, healthier life.

A Holistic Approach to Wellness

As the MacArthur Study suggests, well-being depends on more than just a healthy diet or regular workouts. Humans are complex creatures and our health is composed of a variety of interdependent factors. That’s why wellness programs at retirement communities like Freedom Plaza are based on a holistic philosophy of well-being that includes eight dimensions of wellness:

1: Physical

Regular physical activity boosts cognitive health, reduces the risk of disease, strengthens bones and muscles, and supports your ability to perform everyday activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that older adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity — such as a brisk walk, a bike ride or a swim — plus two or more days of strength training and three days of balance activities.

2. Emotional

Emotional wellness is your ability to handle life’s stresses and to adapt during changing or difficult times. A variety of factors contribute to this resilience, including getting enough sleep, reducing stress, practicing mindfulness and connecting with other people.

3. Social

Isolation and loneliness can have serious health consequences, increasing the risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression and anxiety. Having a sense of belonging within a community, meeting a friend for coffee, even having a brief conversation with a passing acquaintance can boost your mood, support your resilience and foster good health.  

4. Spiritual

Spiritual wellness is about the search for meaning and having a deep appreciation for life. You can cultivate this in a variety of ways — prayer, meditation, contemplation, participation in a faith-based group — that are consistent with your own beliefs and values.

5. Intellectual

A healthy mind is a hungry mind, eager to learn and grow. Keep feeding your brain by taking classes, joining a book club or learning a new skill. Studies suggest that continually challenging your brain can protect against cognitive decline.

6. Vocational

Having a sense of purpose — that feeling that you’re making a meaningful contribution and participating in activities that matter — is linked to successful aging. So whether you’re eager to improve your bridge game, volunteer at a nearby school, or both, it’s important to have activities that inspire you to jump out of bed in the morning and engage with life.  

7. Environmental  

The ideal retirement community creates an environment in which you can feel happy, welcomed and engaged. Think about the ideal setting for your retirement lifestyle. Maybe it’s a place where you feel a sense of safety and belonging. It might be friendly, picturesque, and brimming with opportunities to socialize, explore, learn and grow.

8. Health Services

Even the healthiest people can experience a setback. Knowing that, should a health crisis occur, having a continuum of care available to meet your changing needs can bring enormous peace of mind. In a Life Plan Community like Freedom Plaza, on-campus health services — which include assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation and skilled nursing — ensure that you can transition seamlessly between levels of care if the need arises. 

A Culture of Wellness at Freedom Plaza

At Freedom Plaza, you’ll find an abundance of health and wellness opportunities, a vibrant lifestyle, and a friendly atmosphere. With our state-of-the-art fitness center, lifelong learning classes, numerous interest groups and clubs, and beautiful 140-acre campus, it’s easy to make the lifestyle choices that support successful aging. Contact us to learn more about our philosophy of wellness, or to schedule a visit.