A Pathway to Wellness
When David Ammons and the team at Springmoor Retirement Community in Raleigh introduced the concept of the Pathways program, the essential tenets were about choice and control.
“Pathways gives the tools and choices to our residents to celebrate the many dimensions of wellness,” said David Ammons, CEO of Springmoor and President of Retirement Living Associates, Inc.
Pathways refers to a whole-person wellness approach that encourages each resident to pursue individual and community wholeness through a variety of activities and interests.
The eight dimensions of wellness include Physical, Emotional, Vocational, Nutritional, Social, Environmental, Spiritual and Intellectual. At SpringShire Retirement Community, which is under development in Greenville, RLA plans to bring Pathways to the residents and team and to build upon the work that was done at Springmoor in Raleigh.
For many seniors, when they consider “wellness”, they first think of physical fitness, only consider abilities (or lack thereof). At Springmoor and at SpringShire, Physical is just one of those dimensions.
“In a perfect world, our residents would be eating healthy food all the time and taking daily walks or exercising in our pool,” explains Kari Richie, Health & Fitness Director at Springmoor. “The reality is that not everyone finds joy in taking daily walks. We work with each resident on an individual basis when they move into the community to help them find the activity and program that would bring them the most joy – and if it involves physical activity, even better.”
Ritchie is responsible for the health and fitness activities that take place in the state-of-the-art wellness center on Springmoor’s South Campus. At SpringShire, the same design and construction will take place to give residents a large, comfortable indoor swimming pool for lap swimming and water aerobics. In addition, the Wellness Center at SpringShire will include a fitness center furnished with cutting edge fitness equipment, weight training systems and balance training tools. In the exercise room, residents will enjoy a host of classes that focus on yoga, balance, strength training and cardio. The Wellness team at Springmoor, and soon-to-be SpringShire will provide individual programs for each resident based on their preferences and goals.
“Having a wide variety of choices is key,” said Ritchie. “Often residents will have a hard time choosing what program to attend because they may occur at the same time.”
Springmoor Chaplain Phyllis Mayo provides many activities and programs that address Emotional and Spiritual wellness or our residents. One activity that has become extremely popular is the Drumming Circle. Lorrie Houze leads the drum circle twice per month at Springmoor.
“Residents dealing with the loss of someone in their life find some escape in the experience of participating in a drum circle,” said Houze. “We welcome anyone of any ability to come and participate – guaranteed to be a cathartic experience.”
Intellectual wellness is fed in a variety of ways, according to Resident Life Director, Leah Willis. Residents meet with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and decide on classes to take as a group. Also, many residents elect to take classes on an individual basis – either way they are supported with their choice. Many classes are brought to the Springmoor campus to make it easier for residents to participate. The residents also enjoy a series of performances, and this month are looking forward to a new series, “Presidents and their First Ladies,” a theatrical performance providing a fun and anecdotal history of our well known Presidents.
Vocational Wellness is also a key dimension of Pathways. Seniors who are considering moving to a retirement community often overlook all of the great opportunities to give back once they move into a community. Now that the headache of maintaining a home is no longer an issue, residents find they have more time to contribute in a greater way to their community. At Springmoor a group of residents spearheaded a school supply and food drive for a group of under-resource elementary students in the “Read and Feed” program. In the spring, they are looking forward to additional tutoring opportunities with the students.
Many residents volunteer to do taxes or advise on small and start-up businesses. Other residents have started sewing groups creating stuffed animals for local children visiting the Emergency Rooms in area hospitals.
Environmental wellness is addressed with residents meeting on a regular basis to discuss ways to be better conservationists of our environment. Residents advise on ways to cut down on overall utility bills, ways to improve the gardening spaces for vegetable and flower gardens and how to enhance the recycling programs around campus.
Lastly, Nutritional Wellness is a large component of Pathways. Residents at Springmoor and soon at SpringShire have the opportunity to have seemingly endless choices for meals all throughout the day. Whether you want to start a new diet and eat more fruit and vegetables – or if you want to create a diet program where you can eat a different type of pie each day – Springmoor, and soon SpringShire will help you support that choice and have a great deal of control and convenience in eating. A registered dietician is available to consult with you about your food choices and how to create a healthy and tasty menu.
“Residents bring me special recipes all the time,” said Luke Campbell, Executive Chef at Springmoor. “Our job in our dining venues is to make the experience personal for each resident and honor their individual preferences.” Each month the Resident Dining Committee meets with Luke to discuss preferences and other options and choices that could be added to the menu.
Ultimately, as a community we understand that making a move to a retirement community is a big change, and we want the change to have a positive impact on the overall health of our residents. Pathways provides many ways to do so, and the choice is the residents to make as to which path they will take.