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Wellness Programs That Can Boost the Health of Seniors in Living Facilities

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Health is critical to the overall quality of life from birth and childhood to adulthood and old age. But as risks to health and well-being increase with aging, the elderly have greater needs for healthcare services and social assistance. As one of the key healthcare industries that serve the country’s nearly 54.1 million elderly population, an article from OurCulture says the number of living facilities catering to senior populations has reached about 29,000, with an average occupancy rate of 75% in 2021. Living facilities aim to deliver residential and personal care so seniors can live healthier, happier, and longer lives. However, caring for seniors does not come without challenges. A Maryville University article highlights how social issues affect healthcare, particularly in terms of access to facilities and quality of care received. Living facilities must therefore be accessible, well-funded, and have well-trained staff who can work with the elderly and address their specific needs—mainly through wellness programs that approach health and lifestyle in an integrative and holistic manner. Embracing wellness in daily life can lower the risk of chronic diseases while promoting community and connection.

Music and dance

Nobody is too old to fuel their creativity and fulfill their need for enjoyment. As such, music and dance can be excellent methods for seniors to express themselves in fun and engaging ways. A music-centered wellness program can actively involve seniors by having them play instruments, form a band, dance a particular routine, or even sing along to karaoke tunes. Furthermore, WebMD notes that music therapy for older adults has a range of health benefits. It can motivate seniors to get physically active and thus improve their cardiovascular health, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Music therapy can also encourage the release of stress, thereby relieving the symptoms of social isolation, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Since music is commonly associated with memory, seniors with difficulty remembering and communicating due to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia can use familiar music as a tool for accessing past memories and experiences.

Cooking and baking

Nutrition is a significant component of health, especially in old age. Still, some elderly have difficulty eating healthy due to oral health problems, decreased sense of taste or smell, or lack of appetite. By involving them in meal planning, preparation, cooking, baking, and serving, seniors can respond more positively to food since they made it themselves. Whether the cooking classes are for beginners or seniors who already know how to cook, they can inspire passion, confidence, and excitement in learning new skills and accomplishing new things. Social connection can also be fostered through participants sharing cooking tips and experiences or watching cooking shows together to gather inspiration. Lastly, the recipes must be carefully crafted to meet nutritional needs and dietary limitations, such as avoiding empty calories and choosing low-fat, low-cholesterol ingredients.

Mindfulness activities and physical exercise

Wellness programs for seniors don’t always have to be focused on specialized curative or medical care. As discussed in a previous post on What is Integrative Health?, preventative health measures can also lead to overall wellness and balance. Integrative health views the individual as a complex being rather than fragmenting the person into systems and body parts. Mindfulness activities such as meditation can be combined with yoga and breathing techniques to integrate the body, mind, and spirit effectively. This combination can help improve seniors’ sleep, mobility, and connectedness with the world around them. Through a team of integrative health practitioners, Cary Integrative Health offers a variety of services, such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga. A collaborative approach to health and wellness also ensures that the recommended lifestyle changes are sustainable and suited to seniors’ medical history, daily activities, personality, and behavior.

Written by Avery James for

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