Senior Wellness Facility

wellness-centersA new senior wellness program in an apartment building in Rockford is proving beneficial to both residents and taxpayers. Zion Development was set up in Longwood Gardens Apartments to enhance the quality of life of its residents through their “unique wellness programs.”

The senior wellness facility is run by fitness trainers and nutritionists who are being paid $2,300 per resident. The funds for this are coming from a state grant. This idea will end up saving Medicare money since for example, dialysis alone costs Medicare between three to six thousand dollars weekly.

Apart from the obvious financial saving, residents have noted an improvement in their overall health. One of the reasons for this is the focus on preventive measures such as sugar, cholesterol, weight, blood pressure testing. In addition, there are substantial savings on ambulance calls – 24 percent lower in fact, a financial saving of $13,000+ annually.

So this senior wellness facility certainly seems to be good for everyone.

Holistic Senior Wellness

senior-wellnessThe tailored wellness program – LifeWorks Senior Wellness Program – created by Lifetime Wellness, engages a holistic approach that seeks to “nurture the whole person,” enhancing their quality of life.  This is particularly important for senior wellness given that all-too-often seniors are treated in a way that just looks at the immediate issue and thus neglects overall health.

To achieve this, the program specializes on six main wellness elements.  According to program director, Brenton Onofre, the goal of the program is “to provide quality of life for our residents while they are living here by creating purpose each day and providing ways for residents to better themselves and help others.  “We understand that to enhance both a person’s health and quality of life requires more than just clinical expertise. We’re always looking for ways to meet everyone’s interests and offer the opportunity for purposeful interaction, both with fellow residents and the staff.”

A holistic approach to senior wellness is the main tenet of the program.  Looking at the senior as an entirety enables the one administering the treatment to thoroughly enhance quality of life, ensuring nothing is missed.  Instead of just helping the elderly get involved in activities that can be challenging for them, this “innovative approach” does everything.  It doesn’t just look at the mental side for example, or just focus on physical limitations.  It spans:  intellectual, emotional, social, physical, vocational, and spiritual, all at once, developing a group of activities that stretches these elements.

In addition to mind, body, intellectual based activities, there are also religious events held through the LifeWorks Senior Wellness Program. Brenton explains, “we work to integrate this into our residents’ rehab program so that have a more comprehensive understanding of what they can do to continue good health once they return home.  Our Wellness Works program strives to make a lasting impact on any resident that transitions home from our facility, and the best way to do that is through caring and education.”

Senior Wellness: Screenings

blood-pressureThe older one gets, the more screenings they should probably have.  Director of Flathead County’s Kalispell Senior Center, Khit Harding has been promoting these for the seniors in her region, the first of which took place at the end of October.  On that first screening, several people were diagnosed with severe issues of depression and anxiety by Jennifer Allen who works at the mental health program at North Valley Hospital.

“Seniors will represent almost 25 percent of the overall population of Flathead Valley by 2020, a mere six years away. And although our demographic continues to increase because of retirees and the generally aging population, we still do not have the support of our communities needed to continue to live, work and play in our homes and independently,” she explained. Once diagnosed at the screening, the seniors were given the information they needed on how to seek help through a physician or therapist.

For the promotion of senior wellness, screenings make the world of difference.  There are a variety of these that take place throughout the nation at all times.  Most recent ones include: memory screenings at Kronkosky Place Senior Center in Boerne.  Nurse Next Door Senior Home Care providers undertake monthly memory screenings to recognize National Memory Screening Day with screenings taking no more than 10 minutes. Blood pressure screening is available at Gaffey Home Nursing and the same is offered but with a question-and-answer opportunity with an RN at the Presence United Samaritans Medical Center every Wednesday.

Ultimately for those who are interested in the subject of senior wellness – whether they themselves are seniors or they are caring for seniors – screenings is a very important (and relatively easy) part of senior care.

Enhancing Senior Wellness

In an effort to improve senior wellness and health in the region, a telehealth pilot program is being launched in Connecticut.  According to Chairman of the New Canaan Health and Human Services Commission, Jim Lisher, there will be 50 participants in the program. Equipping seniors with customized mobile technology, in the fall, the 10 elderly individuals living in New Canaan will be given iPads or Acer tablets to enable them to communicate with a nurse a few times a week.  This way – it is hoped – they will be able to remain in their homes rather than having to be put into care.

As well as having teleconferencing abilities, pilot program participants will be given medical equipment to monitor their weight, blood pressure and heart rate; information that will thereafter be given to the nurse who will also take a general overview of the patient’s overall wellness.

It is fitting that this pilot program will take place in New Canaan since 75 percent of adults living there fall into the senior category.  Thus it is hoped that this program will alleviate the pressure on hospitals and nursing homes.  In addition, enabling the elderly to stay at home is much cheaper on the system, and better in general for senior wellness.  In terms of finances, like many cities in the US, over 50 percent of healthcare in New Canaan is spent on preventable diseases that result from diet, smoking and overall bad lifestyle choices.  Telehealth programs may have the potential to serve as preventative measures and thus reduce the overall cost of healthcare as well as enhancing senior wellness.

The concept of senior wellness at home is not a new one.  Indeed, the villages regions of Florida, boasts a Telemonitoring program as part of its Senior Home Care package, launched in the summer of 2012.  Like the telehealth program soon to be piloted in New Canaan this one was set up to “monitor home health patients under their care who are high-risk and have chronic conditions, such as chronic heart failure.”  As well, the program combines clinical home health visits with telephonic intervention which have, through studies, been shown to enhance senior wellness and decrease the amount of hospital readmissions.

While these programs are not cheap – the one in New Canaan is $24,000 – ultimately the long-term savings and overall senior wellness have been shown in other such programs to be worth the initial monies required.

Daniel E. Straus, CareOne Employees, Join Team in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s, organized by the Alzheimer’s Association, is the largest Alzheimer’s awareness event in the United States. Gathering people of all ages in 600 communities nationwide, the event supports Alzheimer’s care, support and research. A serious affliction most common amongst seniors, the disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

Last year, CareOne Management put together a team of employees, family members and friends who joined the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Point Pleasant Beach. Though there is no registration fee for the event, all participants are expected to fundraise for the cause. The 24 representatives of CareOne raised around $2,000 for the Association.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, the organization’s mission is “To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.”

Learn more about the walk: