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Why Wellness Programs Are So Important

group of seniors finished up workout in the park

Is “Wellness” replacing “Care” when it comes to senior health?

Wellness versus care. Is it really a distinction we need? Well, according to the respondents of a 2018 survey on active aging trends by The International Council on Active Aging, about 60% of senior living community leaders reported that their retirement community will be based on a wellness lifestyle by next year.

So what exactly is the distinction?

Wellness, according to the National Wellness Institute, is an “active process through which people make health and lifestyle choices toward a better life.”

A simple way of thinking about the difference between wellness and care is to think about the approach to each. Typically, care entails an outside-in approach to health. If a person has high blood pressure, for instance, they would be given medication in a typical care setting. Wellness, on the other hand, takes an inside-out approach. It’s about looking for the underlying causes of that high blood  pressure that exist within a person’s body, and finding an alternative way to treat that specific cause rather than just the symptoms.

Retirement communities are on the frontlines of a changing worldview on overall health.

No one is suggesting that senior health care isn’t important. Advances in medical treatments are precisely why we’re living longer. In fact, studies by the World Health Organization indicate that the world’s population of people 60 years and older will reach 2 billion by 2050.

And we aren’t just living longer. We’re remaining healthier and more active than previous generations. Some of this is due to a shift in our health system’s views about the importance of prioritizing prevention over treatment — in other words, wellness over care. And the results speak for themselves, as more and more research shows the significant benefits for seniors who actively participate in wellness programs.

Retirement communities have embraced this approach by offering more options in their fitness centers and enhancing their wellness programs with alternative offerings such as Tai Chi, meditation, yoga and Bible  study.

The goal of well-rounded wellness programs at progressive senior living communities.

Sure, a focus on wellness has significant benefits to the physical health of seniors. Just as importantly, however, this shift in programming also boosts participants’ sense of purpose and contentment.

By embracing overall senior health, smart retirement communities are providing their residents with greater:

  • Quality of life
  • Social wellness
  • Cognitive function
  • Independence
  • Emotional health

Retirement communities are already seeing the results of these wellness programs.

Senior health has always been an important focus of senior living communities, particularly Life Plan or CCRC communities. And the results of an increased push toward wellness are clear. The Age Well Study by the Mather Institute is an ongoing five-year analysis evaluating the effects of living in a Life Plan Community/CCRC on residents’ cognitive, physical, and psychosocial health and well-being.

The study is now in its fourth year, but results were immediate. In the first year, it was reported that Life Plan Community/CCRC residents experienced greater emotional, social, physical, intellectual and vocational wellness than their counterparts.

Senior health is of utmost importance to us here at The House of The Good Shepherd.

As a Life Plan Community in Hackettstown, NJ, we’ve long understood the importance of the overall health and wellness of our residents. Our ultimate goal is to create a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. Our community sits on 15 acres of riverside woodlands, perfect for socializing, exercising and meditating. Here, we encourage you to be your authentic self. With endless opportunities to explore new interests, rekindle long-lost passions, and connect with nature, you’ll never run out of ways to find what fulfills you.

Interested in learning more about life here at Riverwalk Village, The House of The Good Shepherd? Our podcast is full of interesting and helpful facts.