Senior wellness programs offer a variety of health benefits as well as education and information resources for seniors. Wellness incorporates all aspects of health, including the physical, mental, spiritual and environmental. Wellness programs are those that work to positively influence these areas of a person’s life to improve overall health and well-being. Guiding behaviors such as habits and lifestyle enhances quality of life for many seniors, and offers ideas and tips on how to live longer, healthier lives. The focus of senior health or wellness programs is to educate adults and most especially seniors on how best to manage their health and activity levels for optimal function and performance. The term “wellness program” is most often associated with corporations and work-sites however wellness programs may also be offered through community organizations such as schools, Cooperative Extension Offices, public health departments or senior living communities.
Discovery Commons At Wildewood in Maryland offers its independent living residents access to various health and wellness programs to help enrich their lives. From exercise to continuing education classes, themed dances to spiritual gatherings, the communities aim is to provide a complete well-rounded experience for its residents. To find out more information on how important wellness programs are to seniors, please read below.
A good senior wellness program will offer adequate resources for seniors regarding a large number of medical conditions that generally affect those over 50 years of age, including but not limited to osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and nutritional needs. Such programs will also offer information regarding physical and occupational therapy, offer coordination of health education and care from a variety of community resources and address the growing needs of the senior community.
A major focus of senior wellness is home safety. Aspects of home safety include but are not limited to fire safety, creating a safe, fall-proof living environment, and availability of home improvement options like safety grab bars in bathrooms and non-skid rugs in kitchens, hallways and bathrooms. These tips lead to reduced falls and injuries in the home, benefiting all seniors.
Another main goal of any senior wellness program is to keep seniors informed of the importance of preventive care and health maintenance. Areas include the importance of yearly flu shots, driving safety and taking medications as directed by a physician. Understanding how weather affects seniors, from the need to be especially careful to dress warmly in cold weather, watching for ice, or providing a cool environment in the heat of summer may help save lives and prevent slips, falls, or dehydration or hypothermia.
Independence is very important in any senior wellness program. Encouraging the independence of seniors helps them maintain a richer personal life. Regular exercise and fitness is encouraged to help seniors maintain and improve mobility, range of motion, balance, stability and strength and endurance, leading to greater ability to function on a daily basis without help.
Weight Loss and Nutrition
Physical health and a reduced risk of chronic disease are related to maintaining a healthy weight and eating nutritious foods. Therefore, many wellness programs focus on these components. Biggest loser competitions within the community encourage participants to lose weight through group support and rewards. Typically, these programs meet weekly and host a weigh-in. At the end of an 8- or 12-week program the person losing the highest percentage of his body weight wins. Lunch and Learn classes educate participants about proper nutrition and health through seminars offered during convenient times of the day.
Wellness programs focusing on physical activity exist for the same reason as those that deal with weight loss and nutrition—to reduce the risk of chronic disease. There are two different types of physical activity programs that fall in this category. These programs encourage participants to keep track of their exercise and compete with other teams to meet daily exercise recommendations. The second type is the availability of fitness facilities or the offering of exercise classes. In addition, group exercise classes or walking and running groups also fall into this category. All of these types of programs help to promote physical activity and health among residents of the community.