What's new: The business case for wellness programs in senior living.


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The Journal on Active Aging brings articles of value to professionals dedicated to older-adult quality of life. Content sweeps across the active-aging landscape to focus on education and practice. Find articles of interest by searching the article archives in three ways: Enter a keyword in the articles search bar; click on search by topic; or type a keyword or phrase in the general search bar at the top of the page.

Topic- Program design


Rhythm in the round  by Candy Davis-1462

Rhythm in the round by Candy Davis

You’ve probably read all the great press on rhythm events—a broad category that includes everything from exploring improvisational vocalization, body percussion, and the use of found objects, to formal drum circles and even drumming classes with local artists. Many event coordinators may not realize that creating rhythm together allows participants to experience all seven dimensions of wellness in a single activity, including occupational and environmental.

You’re eager to start a rhythm circle at your facility, but frankly, you consider it hopeless because you are a non-musician (and so are most of your clients), so you’ve backed away from the idea. And anyway, whose budget could support buying a lot of instruments, let alone bringing in a professional facilitator once a week?


Program design

Creative arts and aging: improvisation   by Roxy Kline-1447

Creative arts and aging: improvisation by Roxy Kline

Everyone is aging. Agreed? But how we age is determined, in part, by what we do with our years. George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” Whatever age, mental or physical ability, older adults can participate in the arts. Improvisation is just one of many creative arts tools that can be used to provide opportunities for social interaction in a playful and fun atmosphere.

When most people think of improvisation, they think of stand-up comedians with clever, quick-witted responses and one-liners. Although a common side effect of improvisation is laughter, being clever or funny is not a necessary skill. Stop thinking about improvisation as “acting.” Instead, look at the root word “improvise” (defined as “to invent, compose, or perform with little or no preparation”).


Program design

Expand your program utilizing Animal-Assisted Interventions  by Paula Frakes, MA-1437

Expand your program utilizing Animal-Assisted Interventions by Paula Frakes, MA

The practice of partnering with animals to assist people with various social, emotional and physical needs has been called many names over the years: pet therapy, pet-facilitated therapy, pet-assisted therapy, animal-assisted therapy and animal-assisted activities—just to name a few. As in many professions, an evolution of terminology has occurred as the years have progressed. In the 21st century, when referring to therapies or activities that incorporate the use of animals, many professionals now prefer to use the term Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI).

The process of integrating an AAI option in your programming is not to be taken lightly. It requires research, planning and thoughtful consideration before bringing the animals into your setting. When it is done right, it is a wonderful experience for older adults, staff and the AAI volunteers and animals asked to participate in your programs.


Program design

Strong shoulders: water exercise for rotator cuff health by Mary E. Sanders, PhD, FACSM, RCEP-1409

Strong shoulders: water exercise for rotator cuff health by Mary E. Sanders, PhD, FACSM, RCEP

Joan Stoltz is an active 77-year-old with a long history of exercise and active living. In 1997, as a member of the Golden Waves® functional water fitness study at the University of Nevada, Reno, Joan became an enthusiastic water exerciser. Since that time a series of rotator-cuff shoulder injuries have left Joan with pain that limits her ability to reach overhead, forward and backwards. She has completed a land-based physical therapy program and receives periodic corticosteroid injections to relieve pain. But her physician and physical therapist say there is nothing more they can do to help her. Joan is now back at the pool, wondering what she should do.


Program design

Catch a current for shallow wave cardio-resistance training by Mary E. Sanders, PhD, FACSM, RCEP-1358

Catch a current for shallow wave cardio-resistance training by Mary E. Sanders, PhD, FACSM, RCEP

When I first met Sandy, a 63-year-old retired woman, she weighed 285 lbs. and measured 50.7 % body fat. She also had a history of significant chronic knee pain. In fact, she was unable to perform any chair stands as a result of this pain. After Sandy completed all her physical therapy sessions, her healthcare providers told her there was nothing more they could do to help.


Program design

Piggyback programs to national observances-1278

Piggyback programs to national observances

•••A resource-friendly approach to building a diverse wellness program is to piggyback onto a national or regional “observance.” Well-known examples are Heart Month in February and Active Aging Week, held over the last week of September. An observance is a day, week or month that publicizes a special interest or group of people, such as health (stop smoking or high blood pressure awareness week), physical activity (yoga day) or older adults (Older Americans Month). Some events might combine all of these, as in Active Aging Week.

There are a number of advantages to personalizing observances to fit into your programs. The designated days, weeks or months fit into the dimensions of wellness. Often the sponsoring organizations provide support materials that can be downloaded for free, or ordered for free or at a nominal rate. You can use these resources to jump start the program planning with themes, handouts and images ready to use.


Program design

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