What to look for in a Senior Living Wellness Program

Whether you’re very active or less active, regular exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle as you
age. That’s a truth that senior living facilities recognize as well.

According to a survey by the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, health, and wellness is the
second biggest emerging trend in senior living. This survey projected that senior living
facilities offering fitness and wellness programs would jump from 40 percent to 78 percent over
five years.

The Importance of a Wellness and Exercise Program

Why are health and wellness programs making their way to the forefront of senior living
communities?

First, exercise can prevent and delay many diseases. Research has shown that regular exercise is
associated with reduced risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most dreaded consequences of aging. Studies have
now associated exercise with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. While more
research is needed, the results are promising thus far and are just another reason to add regular
exercise to your routine.

Second, indirectly, exercise can make you feel good! When you exercise, your body releases
chemicals called endorphins (also known as the feel-good chemical). An exercise of any kind has
been shown to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Plus, it improves
sleep and reduces anxiety and stress.

So if you want a senior living community with a stellar wellness and fitness program, what
should you look for exactly? Let’s take a look.

Things to Look for in a Senior Living Wellness Program:

Types of Classes: Variety is key. You want the ability to choose from a number of different
classes and activities. This will not only ensure classes that you enjoy but may also allow you to
explore fun activities you haven’t tried before.

When it comes to exercise, focus on weight-bearing and balance exercises for countering
osteoporosis and promoting bone health. Weight-bearing exercise literally means to bear your
own weight. This stresses your bones — in a positive way. Such exercises include hiking,
walking, tennis, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates.

Tai chi, Pilates, and yoga for osteoporosis, in particular, also improve your balance and have
been shown to improve bone health. One study has shown that tai chi can also help ease arthritic
symptoms.

Qualified Instructors: Once you have seen the variety of classes that a senior living community
offers, the next question is: Do these classes have qualified instructors? Exercises like yoga and
Pilates, while extremely beneficial, should be modified depending on the ages and limitations of
the participants. A qualified instructor will be able to modify any movement to help you
complete the class safely. Give the community bonus points if it has a full-time personal trainer
for residents to work with one on one.

Frequency of Classes: If you’re happy with the variety of classes offered at a senior living
community, determine whether the classes are held often enough. You don’t want to have to wait
a week or two between classes.

Health Education: Wellness encompasses a multidimensional lifestyle, including physical,
spiritual and mental well-being. Discover if your prospective senior living community also
provides health education classes. Exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your
body — whether it’s through seminars, lectures, inspirational talks, or social activities like trips.
Aegis Homecare partners with local senior living communities to provide Health, Wellness and
Therapy services to help residents maintain their independence.

Please contact us at 480-219-4790 to learn more.

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