I was both honored and delighted when our Activities Director asked me as your new Executive Director to write my first article for our Resident Newsletter. In terms of subject matter, I always find it best to first discuss the “elephant in the room” before offering a snapshot into our future. With all of the news coverage about senior living communities, you might consider that these are not safe places to live. But, those who call our communities home tell a different story – not of fear, but protection; not of isolation, but of companionship. Jim Taylor, a resident of a senior living community which I am blessed to have been a part of, sized it up during a resident meeting. “There’s no place I’d rather be – outside or during the COVID-19 scare than here. My apartment is my home. I trust the wonderful staff and know I’m in the best place possible. The fact that residents and staff remain diligent and put us first says it all. Assisted living is better living here.”
I continue to learn and absorb as I begin my third week here. Our residents at The Gardens of Cedar Rapids are like family to us, and staff are dedicated and authentic at heart. We’ll always be here to assure that they receive any and all of the 8 dimensions of wellness that we know can enhance seniors’ lives. What are the 8 dimensions you may ask? Physical wellness certainly becomes a priority. Our restorative health programs improve range of motion, core strength and balance. Emotional wellness is also paramount. Our diverse programs give our residents comfort and strength as well as support in the form of peer groups, informal circles of friends, and meaningful interactions with staff members. Social wellness increases engagement, reduces isolation, and improves seniors’ outlooks – and there’s no shortage of opportunities in an active senior living community like The Gardens. Intellectual wellness boosts cognitive function, stimulates the brain and fuels lifelong learning. In our community, seniors might engage in brain games and exercises, book groups, trivia contests, educational seminars, or tech and craft workshops, Vocational wellness recognizes that seniors have valuable work and life skills that can benefit the entire community. We encourage our residents to share their knowledge by teaching others, building or creating something, or leading discussion groups. Environmental wellness reflects the importance of a warm and comfortable environment such as what we have here. This may encompass gardens and green spaces; clean, bright surroundings; a friendly, caring staff, accessible technology and festive seasonal decorations. Spiritual wellness reflects a strong spiritual sense of hope, strength, and peace. Having on-site worship services, music performances and meditation exercises brings a sense of calm – always appreciated by tenants, residents, family members and staff alike. Finally, having access to quality Health Services at any time enhances a peace of mind for both residents and their families. The Gardens continues to deliver support through our staff as well as local nurse visits, routine health screens, memory care programs, as well as therapeutic and restorative care.
In a nutshell – we have it all here. How exciting it is to be a part of such an invigorating senior community and at a time when we can make such a wonderful difference in the lives of seniors!