Does your senior care facility offer holistic health and wellness options for your patients and residents?
Studies have begun to show that this is a great way to achieve the highest levels of well-being, a more joyful mindset and overall a more satisfying life – even as we age.
You’ve already got a healthcare center full of medical professionals linked into the best technology. You have caregivers offering assistance above and beyond the call of duty. If you’re looking to take the next step, consider incorporating holistic healthcare offerings, or increasing and improving what is already available at your facility.
People are attracted to your facility because you offer dependable care from hard-working staff. But today’s Baby Boomer residents aging into the healthcare center demographic want something beyond the care centers of the past. Residents are demanding more than just treatment for illnesses today – they need psychological, physical and social support. They’ve lived exciting lives but aren’t ready to give up their sense of freedom quite yet. And, healthier residents and patients will not only make you and your staff feel good about the work you are doing – it’s also great for the bottom line.
Holistic Health: A Comprehensive Approach To Care & Lifestyles
Alternatives to traditional Western medicine have been on the rise for a few decades now, with chiropractors, naturopaths, dietitians and other holistic practitioners becoming widely accepted and sought-after. Additionally, more and more people nationwide are recognizing the need for both spiritual and emotional health along with physical health. And finally, components of physical health are no longer limited to blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Daily movement and a healthy diet are considered very important factors to determining someone’s overall levels of health and wellness. People of all ages want comprehensive care that stretches beyond the boundaries of what was once considered healthcare.
And so, it only makes sense that alternatives to traditional senior care centers, like those that focus on comprehensive care, are growing in the rental market for those who need assisted living. The benefits of holistic health are not lost on today’s senior population. They want to feel like they’re still active and a part of society. They want to be able to experience new things and continue to pursue the hobbies they have always enjoyed. The pursuit of natural wellness offers physical, psychological and social activity. Centers that offer multiple styles of support have happier residents, which improves the quality of life for everyone.
Get Moving! Activities Specifically For Seniors
Retirees now live for up to 20 years in retirement and not exercising during that time can damage more than just the body. Many seniors have mobility issues that hamper their physical fitness. Finding a way to encourage mobility among your residents is a great place to start when it comes to wellness. Start with the basics – is your center in a place where walking outdoors is safe and easy? If not, consider encouraging people to walk the halls of the facility – even while using light weights if possible.
Movement classes are a fun way to get people exercising, and could serve as a huge draw for people considering your facility. Options like tai chi and yoga classes for seniors help your residents to keep their bodies fit without requiring you to invest in exercise equipment that might go unused. We’re not talking about something like hot yoga, where the room is heated to 105 degrees, or Power Yoga, which requires maximum strength and flexibility. The best choice of yoga for senior citizens may be something like chair yoga, or types of yoga like Yin or a broad style called Gentle Yoga.
Chair yoga offers simple, easy exercises that can be done from a sitting position (in a chair.) If residents are able to sit on the floor without problems, yin can be a great option. It’s done almost completely from the floor, and is very slow paced. Gentle yoga is a general term for classes that are also are slow-paced, and is geared to help people with low-mobility or who are recovering from an injury. It is considered to be a form of restorative yoga. Even those residents put off by traditional exercise may find some benefit in a weekly yoga class.
Creative Outings for Holistic Health and Wellness
I think we can all agree that one of the best parts about being school as a kid was the field trips. Your senior care facility could be the same way. There are traditional choices like shopping malls and local casinos, but you can make wellness a part of your agenda, too. (A trip to the mall in the winter is a great way to get some walking done!)
Work with local gyms to offer your residents discounted memberships (or offer them direct sales through you). Take advantage of cultural opportunities like museums and shows to engage minds as well as bodies – that is what holistic health and wellness is really all about. Ensure your residents get a chance to see the unique sights and e
xperiences of your city. Too often, locals rarely get to do the tourist locales. Give your residents the chance to do the things they never thought to do themselves.
Studies are showing that social isolation can be deadly, and that a solid support system can actually lead to a longer life. Encourage community connections both within your facility and without. Consider a program like this one, where elders and children connect on a daily or weekly basis. This program is great for kids who might live far from their grandparents, but it’s also beneficial to elders who can enjoy the contagious spirit of youth!
Helping Seniors Continue To Grow
Giving over some space to a community garden also expands your holistic healthcare repertoire. Residents can engage in light physical activity while also spending time outdoors. Being outside has huge benefits to health and well being, and offering gardening for seniors is a great way to show health-conscious residents and potential residents that you care about health and wellness options.
Make sure to offer waist high garden beds to reduce the need for stooping or kneeling. Creating this space will take some investment, but building materials for raised beds are relatively cheap compared to the benefits your residents may get. People who engage in the program will bring years of gardening knowledge to the table and it also gives them an easy activity that yields concrete results. Seeing the fruit of your labors is one thing; seeing actual fruit that can be enjoyed by staff and resident alike is something else entirely.
Create A Ripple Effect
Residents seeking holistic health and wellness aren’t likely to stop with themselves. Much as a body part is part of a larger whole, so too is one person a part of a larger community. That garden can be the first step on a path allowing your healthcare center a chance to impact the environment in a positive way. Work with your kitchen staff to figure out how to get food grown on site into your dining room – even if just for a special event.
Not all the items grown in the garden may make it to your kitchen, but that’s okay. Composting is a cheap and easy way to recycle organic matter into fertilizer for next year’s garden. It also keeps your residents aware of the garden during the post-harvest months by looking for good sources of compost materials they can use to make sure next year’s garden grows even wilder.
Not only can gardens supply you with fresh food, they can teach your staff to cut down on food waste. This can lead to a push to recycle materials within your facility. Recycling can be an activity for both staff and resident. Why not pit them against each other to see how much recyclable material they can each find? Give the winners a nice little perk and maybe even give the other team a bit of a reward for trying so hard. These are great ways to go green and implement eco-friendly practices – another draw for potential residents!
Health Makes Wealth
Going green and implementing holistic health and wellness practices works on two fronts. It’s an approach that you can talk about in your press releases and marketing materials. People love to hear about businesses giving back to the community. Eco-friendliness is viewed as a very positive trait by most people, especially the Baby Boomers that are seeking out care centers.
It can also save you money in the long run. Replacing your old appliances with Energy Star rated equipment will go along way in reducing your energy bills. For an easy place to start, try replacing your standard light bulbs with their more energy efficient counterparts. Your residents will likely have some suggestions for improving your green initiatives, and they will love being asked to participate in the greening of their home!
Supporting your residents and engaging with them goes a long way towards making them happy. They want to feel they still matter and that they’re still people. Offering tools to keep them engaged will let them live longer and better. Show that your healthcare center emphasizes care and the residents will care back.If your current residents are happy, that means new ones will hear good stories and good word of mouth. No advertising dollars are as useful as a satisfied customer.
Consider the example being set by The Green House Project – a national network of homes providing elder care. They began in 2001 with a vision to change the way senior health care was provided. They are dedicated to caring for the whole person, for providing a meaningful existence to residents and for encouraging growth.
If you aren’t already working towards integrating more holistic health and wellness practices into your facilities, it may be something you want to consider. Baby Boomers want more comprehensive care from facilities and adapting comprehensive healthcare practices gives you an edge. Seniors yoga classes keep your residents physical healthy. Exciting activities engage their social needs. Projects like community gardens provide psychological nourishment as well. Holistic health and wellness ideas also apply to your facility’s role within the community. Recycling and green initiatives reflect their impact back in happier communities and more engaged residents. That feeling goes a long way toward keeping everybody happy and healthy together.