Living a full life is all about experiencing a sense of purpose and engagement. For most of us, this sense of fulfillment comes from a variety of sources, and learning to properly balance each of them leads to a full, well-rounded life. Research supports the importance of having healthy connections within a variety of wellness areas in order to live a full and balanced lifestyle physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Wellness as a whole is commonly broken down into seven different dimensions, which together can help build a well-rounded and balanced life and sense of wellbeing. The dimensions include: mental, physical, social, financial, spiritual, environmental, and vocational. Each of these dimensions are interdependent, and are both connected to and influence each other. Keeping all dimensions in a healthy balance will help to create a stronger sense of well-being.
We sat down with our internal wellness expert, Leslie Quintanar to talk about all things wellness, and get some insight into how we use the 7 dimensions to create balanced lifestyle options for our residents across all our communities.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how long you have worked in the Senior Living Industry?
A: I have worked with seniors, and within the Senior Living industry for over 23 years, and have held various positions from Certified Activities Director, to Director of Residents Relations, Executive Director, and am currently a Regional VP of Operations at Pacifica Senior Living. I have been with the company for seven years.
Q: What is your biggest passion when it comes to Senior Living?
A: Engagement and the elevation of quality of life are two things I’m most passionate about in Senior Living. I love seeing how understanding wellness can help improve the lives of our residents.
Q: Can you describe each of the Dimensions of Wellness for us?
Intellectual/Cognitive: An attitude of consultant learning and discovery is important to this component. Much has been made of the fact that keeping our minds stimulated and active helps stave off cognitive decline. Daily crosswords, good books, classes, writing, and other activities that stimulate intellect all work in helping to maintain our wellness.
Physical: We’ve all heard that adage “move it or lose it” and that is true when it comes to the physical realm. The more we stay active, seek to maintain a healthy diet, and get enough sleep, the better we will feel and the more apt we will be to engage in the other dimensions of wellness.
Professional/Vocational: We all have skills that when used properly contribute to the good of those around us. For most of us, that involves our career choice and how we’ve selected to make our mark on the world. Even after retirement, there is still a desire to contribute from a vocational standpoint and to find things that will keep us feeling connected and useful to the world around us.
Social: We all need to connect with others. It may be through a club, an organization, or just spending time with our families. We are by nature creatures who seek out companionship and flourish with regular interaction with those around us. Depriving us of this can be very detrimental to our balance with the other dimensions.
Spiritual: We all want to live with purpose and seek to experience a connection with the world around us and those who may share our values. This may be exercised through church services, mediation, or even mindfulness activities like Tai Chi or yoga. All have a positive effect on allowing us to seek purpose higher than ourselves.
Environmental: Most of us want to be good stewards of this beautiful world. That could mean looking at “green” initiatives, recycling, planting trees, and searching for other ways we can nurture and improve the natural world around us. Planting a garden and cultivating flowers can also serve as another way to connect with the environment and beautify our corners of the world.
Q: How do Pacifica Senior Living and the Aura Collection use the 7 dimensions of wellness to better the lives of residents?
A: At Pacifica Senior Living we seek to engage our residents in a well-rounded approach to wellbeing by accessing each of these dimensions of wellness. Our activity and program calendars use this system in order to offer our residents a wide range of programming and events that meet each dimension, further fulfilling their needs for complete wellness.
We also ensure residents have a comprehensive interest assessment within the early stages of their arrival at one of our communities. This allows us to connect their life experiences to activities that will allow them to find true engagement and renewed purpose in our communities. We firmly believe moving into one of our unique communities is not an end, but a new beginning filled with opportunities to find renewed purpose in each of the dimensions of wellness.
Q: Can you offer some examples of activities or programs in our communities that implement the wellness dimensions?
A: We offer transportation to local churches in many of our communities, and this is one of the most common ways for our residents to get spiritual enrichment. We do social enrichment in many ways, through happy hours, community events, games nights etc. Environmental wellness can come from activities like gardening, or even spending time in nature, while physical wellness is addressed through exercise classes or walking clubs. Crosswords, memory or strategy games, or trivia events are great ways to stimulate the mind for mental wellness, and we offer many volunteer opportunities such as resident ambassador opportunities so that residents can fulfill their vocational needs even in retirement. Offering activities that fill one or more of the wellness categories allows our residents to live a full well rounded life.
Engaging each of these aspects and dimensions helps to build a more complete and full life, and we make it our goal to offer a range of programs to fit everyone’s preferences and needs. Come out and visit your local community to see our activities first hand, or join us for one of our many community events. There is always something happening at Pacifica Senior Living and we'd love for you to get involved!