Wellness Is More Than Meditation Classes: 3 Ways to Promote It in Your Community
More and more communities are offering wellness-driven lifestyles to appeal to today’s older adults. And for good reason: residents have been citing wellness as a primary reason for choosing their community since at least 2017.
Beyond attracting new move-ins, investing in wellness offers benefits for existing residents and staff. It’s well established that wellness programs keep residents happy, healthy, and independent – which means they require less staff time and care, which in turn boosts team morale and protects the community’s bottom line.
There is a catch, however. Communities must truly embrace wellness as a holistic approach to care in order to maximize its benefits. It’s not enough to offer weekly meditation or yoga classes and call it a wellness program. Every department has a role to play, and the effort must be supported by the right infrastructure.
Senior living technology is a sometimes overlooked component of wellness infrastructure, but it can be invaluable in supporting staff and residents on their wellness mission.
Let’s take a closer look at why wellness drives so many communities and learn how senior living technology can help maximize its benefits.
What Is Wellness Culture?
In recent years, wellness has emerged as a popular business model for senior living communities. Establishing a wellness culture means supporting the eight dimensions of wellness – physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental – that contribute to residents’ overall health.
And while the exact language a community uses to define “wellness” might vary, the goal is always the same: an engaged, independent, healthy, and purpose-filled life for residents.
The benefits of making wellness a top priority include…
- Increased resident independence. Residents who are involved with wellness programs stay in independent living nearly three years longer than those who do not.
- Greater self-reported satisfaction. Eighty-nine percent of residents who participate in such programs rate their health “good to excellent,” compared with 68 percent of the overall older adult population.
- Upstream benefits. These include increased length of stay, improved staff experience, reduced need for care, and more.
This holistic approach to care involves all departments of communities, including hospitality, culinary, lifestyle (engagement activities and fitness), and healthcare. The senior living tech you choose can help not only unite departments under a common message but also facilitate communication and boost wellness activities among residents.
In particular, all-in-one engagement and communication platforms can be leveraged to connect departments and promote wellness.
Boost Wellness with an All-in-One Engagement and Communication Platform
Engagement platforms can be tailored to match your senior living community’s wellness goals. If wellness is the thread that connects the mission of each department, then a community engagement platform is the needle that pulls it to reach residents.
Such a platform provides a digital space for residents to engage with what a community offers and make life-affirming choices – the heart of any wellness initiative. The possibilities are almost endless, but here are three examples of how communities can boost wellness with an engagement platform.
1. Support physical wellness and more with virtual fitness classes.
With its partnership with Spiro100, Icon’s community engagement platform offers built-in fitness and wellness videos, which residents can access from the device of their choosing. Content offerings range from general fitness to cognitive and mindfulness exercises to workouts tailored to those with hip replacements, osteoporosis, and more.
Residents can choose the classes that speak to them and meet their needs, including those that match their mobility level. Fitness instructors can also use these videos to help plan onsite group fitness classes. For instance, an instructor might broadcast a Spiro100 flexibility training video and offer guidance to residents taking the live class.
Because Spiro100 is virtual and on-demand, residents can maintain wellness whenever and wherever they want, from the comfort of their own rooms to relatives’ homes miles away.
2. Nurture residents’ social connections with an intuitive activity calendar.
Social participation is one of the most important components of older adults’ health and “successful aging.” Quality of life, disease, and mortality are all linked to social participation, which is why so many senior living communities prioritize engagement programming.
A digital engagement platform can help. It allows residents to not only browse your community’s programming for interesting activities but also create their own events for like-minded individuals.
Self-isolating behavior can be common among older adults. One study found that feelings of fear and anxiety – including fears of social rejection and loss of identity – can keep older adults from seeking social engagement.
The ability to scroll through a myriad of activities on an engagement platform’s calendar means residents can always find something going on in the community that interests them. This makes it easy for them to…
- Have new experiences.
- Continue improving skills and achieving goals.
- Meet residents with similar interests in a low-stress environment.
For residents who want to organize events themselves, doing so is as simple as clicking a few buttons. Additionally, built-in tools make it easy for residents to contact new friends through community directories and groups, send and receive invitations, and keep their calendars up to date.
3. Foster residents’ emotional health with activities and analytics.
Many of the tools that help maintain physical and social wellness can also support residents’ emotional wellness.
Onsite fitness classes and bi-weekly book clubs are great for stimulating the body and mind. They’re also community-building tools for your residents. And after a pandemic that left one in four older adults socially isolated, that sense of community is one of the best ways to support residents’ emotional health.
Staff plays a key role in fostering this emotional wellness, too. Just look at activity directors. They plan, run, and oversee dozens of community events every year. If a resident has started to withdraw from social gatherings, activity directors and other staff members will notice. Staff can even view attendance summaries to confirm when this isolating started.
Once that’s been confirmed, staff can follow up with the resident and plan a course of action that prioritizes their emotional health (looping in family members, connecting them with a teletherapist, etc.).
Support Your Wellness Goals with Senior Living Technology
There’s a good chance that residents chose your senior living community precisely because of the lifestyle it offers: independent, engaging, and life-affirming. A holistic approach to care is key when it comes to supporting residents’ eight dimensions of wellness.
An engagement platform can support the hard work of each department and reach residents directly, so they can always keep in touch, stay active, and find something fun to do.Want to learn how engagement platforms can support your wellness mission?