How senior living emphasizes health and wellness among residents

At Liberty Senior Living communities, residents can participate in a variety of wellness programs that bolster all aspects of their health, from mental and physical to social and emotional.

Posted Updated
Abbey Slattery
, WRAL Digital Solutions
This article was written for our sponsor, Liberty Senior Living.

As we age and our bodies become more susceptible to injury and infection, wellness is top-of-mind — but that doesn't only mean physical wellness. In fact, holistic wellness encompasses not only physical health, but also emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual and environmental.

At senior living communities, wellness programs and classes help promote healthy living among residents.

"Wellness directly correlates to life expectancy, as well as the risk of chronic conditions, disease and the possible risk of injury from potential falls. We're really focusing on countering any potential functional decline that may occur with aging," said Haley Norris, the INSPIRE wellness and enrichment coordinator for Liberty Senior Living. "We're trying to ensure through these health and wellness programs that daily living is not adversely affected. Whether that's a balance class or brain games, we want to focus on improving daily living."

Liberty Senior Living operates over a dozen senior living communities throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. When residents first move into one of their communities, they are eligible to complete a full assessment that evaluates things like strength, endurance, dexterity and more.

Once a benchmark is established, staff members like Norris help residents improve in problem areas and maintain their health in others. In order to appeal to all residents, the communities offer a variety of health and wellness options.

"We have all sorts of classes — balance, strength, agility, coordination, endurance and mental health — in all sorts of difficulty levels. Everyone in our communities is certified to teach Ageless Grace, which combines a physical class with a mental class. No matter what we do, though, everything is tailored to what the residents want, so if residents want something, we're absolutely open to adding new classes," said Norris. "Also, almost all of our communities have a local university partnership, which allows for presentations on important topics that range from exercise science to public health. That really helps with mental stimulation and keeping them up-to-date on the latest information."

Since residents have the ability to pick and choose which programs they'd like to participate in, the wellness curriculum is a way to assist the residents in forming friendships and in helping them become better acclimated to the community.

Oftentimes, a resident's initial assessment is able to shed light on what they'll be interested in. From there, Liberty's staff can start making connections.

"Maybe an individual who just moved in indicates that they really like to swim in the mornings. If we have another resident who likes to swim in the mornings, we'll try to partner them up. We're always searching out ways that we can introduce new friendships and relationships, because not only are these classes incredible for a resident's physical health, but also their mental health," said Norris. "It's a social thing — we're there to have fun and to interact in a way that betters everyone. These programs decrease the risk of isolation and loneliness, because there's always something to do — all you have to do is walk out your front door."

Thanks to the constant variety and tailored nature of the wellness programs, residents at Liberty communities are involved at an impressive level.

"Our staff is dedicated to providing a wide array of wellness opportunities, and because of that, we see as high as 95% participation among our residents," said Bill Piper, executive director of Liberty's Carolina Bay community.

One example in which Norris looked for new ways to improve the health and wellness options of Liberty communities was to start a mock Olympics for residents to participate in. The community splits into teams, oftentimes allowing residents to interact with people they may not usually cross paths with. Liberty's Olympic events include things like water polo, hall races, balloon drops, cornhole and more.

In focusing the programming on residents, Liberty communities are supporting all facets of wellness.

"For us, wellness is multi-faceted — it's not just physical health. We're always looking for opportunities to engage with our residents' mental health, social health and more, and in doing so, we're able to improve their quality of life," said Piper. "Wellness is always important, but even more so as we continue to age. We're always staying up-to-date on the latest recommendations for seniors, and I think the results show up in our communities."

This article was written for our sponsor, Liberty Senior Living.


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