While nutrition and movement are vital to a person’s health as they age, wellness encompasses so much more.
To live well into our senior years, we must also consider mental and social wellness, explains Darlene Henry, Director of Recreation and Leisure Services with Suncrest Retirement Living in South Surrey, near White Rock.
With diverse opportunities for residents to enjoy healthy lifestyles – from delicious, nutritious cuisine and varied recreation activities to regular community excursions and lifelong learning – residents not only maintain their wellness, but increase it.
Wellness of the mind
An engaged mind and personal connections support a person’s mental health, helping stave off issues such as dementia and depression, and supporting physical health. Feeling safe, both in physical and social surroundings, is also important, but can get forgotten in the wellness discussion.
Meaningful and enjoyable opportunities are key, Darlene emphasizes. Many Suncrest residents engage in their own learning, for example, but also share interests with others.
Pointing to a recent farm visit, “we take them to places they might not think about, which is part of that continued learning,” Darlene says. “That was a few weeks ago and they’re still talking about it!”
Wellness of the body
Physical wellness is critical to staying healthy – it maximizes independence, reduces the chance of falls, injury and illness, and supports healing. Recognizing the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit, physical wellness options range from chair yoga for flexibility to the Suncrest gym being planned to the hugely popular walking group.
Beyond proper nutrition and physical activity, the right kinds of assessments and medical care are crucial, (all well-supported at Suncrest), with both independent living and complex care.
Wellness of the spirit
Along with religion and spirituality, everything from culture and heritage to community and engagement, including connections with family, friends and organized groups is vital.
“It’s important to provide that socialization, through activities both at Suncrest and in the community,” Darlene notes.
With complex care residents, “we bring the community to them,” she says, pointing to activities like an upcoming Celtic dance performance, along with art and pet therapy that have both proven popular.
“The experience is what we really want – that’s the goal of our whole team. Residents have something to look forward to and they’re part of the planning.”
By focusing on a broader definition of wellness, seniors not only live well, but thrive, physically, mentally and spiritually.
“Our residents often say, ‘I should have come to Suncrest sooner. I didn’t know I’d like it this much.’ We know then we’re helping them be well.”