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September is Healthy Aging Month, Which Helps Spotlight How Carillon Assisted Living Enhances Residents’ Quality of Life

September is Healthy Aging Month, an observance that helps spotlight how Carillon Assisted Living enhances the quality of life for its residents, says Chuck Jennings, Director of Clinical Operations and Risk Management.

“Our mission as an organization is to provide quality care for our residents while seeking to enrich their physical, social and emotional wellbeing,” Chuck says. “This commitment is the foundation of everything we do, and is accomplished through supporting our residents through healthy aging.”

Started more than 20 years ago, Healthy Aging Month provides inspiration and practical ideas for aging adults to improve their physical, mental, social, and financial wellbeing. Their numbers are growing; more than 76 million Baby Boomers are over 50 and the first of some 82 million Gen Xers are entering that stage of life.

Carolyn Worthington, the executive director of Healthy Aging®, says seniors should use September as motivation to take stock of where they’ve been and what they would still like to do.

“We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out, ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health; it’s never too late to get started on something new,’” she says. “Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and negative aspects?”

Among the activities that says seniors can start during this month are volunteering, traveling, playing a sport, eating fresh food (like that found at farmers markets), and engaging in physical activities, which help decrease the chances of getting dementia.

All 21 Carillon residences encourage the latter through their activities program—which includes a special emphasis on socialization, Chuck says. This is done through a passive and active approach:

  • Passive activities bring residents together to relax and enjoy presentations by church groups; school groups performing musical, theatrical, or dance acts; and local artists. Residents also gather to enjoy movies or participate in discussions about current events and other topics.
  • Active activities require the use of multiple senses, such as those used in walking, exercise, sewing, painting, or baking. These activities promote physical wellbeing, enhance self-esteem, assist residents in maintaining independence, and provide an opportunity for socialization with residents sharing similar interests.

“Additionally, Carillon provides support groups for families with loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease,” Chuck says. “This provides education as well as opportunities for healthy discussion to better understand, support and encourage a healthy life for their loved ones.”

Besides activities that promote socialization and are paramount to healthy living, Carillon’s dining program focuses on meeting residents’ nutritional needs. “We also work closely with our passionate team of caregivers to encourage our residents to avoid isolating themselves in their rooms and to enjoy our common areas and participate in organic conversations that develop in the company of fellow residents,” Chuck says.

While America often seems to glorify youth, as individuals age their life experiences provide a level of wisdom that is incredibly beneficial to future generations. In addition, there is often a strong sense of accomplishment based on their longevity and many life achievements.

Chuck points out that with aging, especially the post-retirement years, seniors have the time to explore interests and participate in things they enjoy most. They also have the ability for volunteerism; supporting, engaging, and enjoying family experiences; and solidifying their legacy as they share life experiences with others. Team members at Carillon are blessed to learn every day from residents, which helps adapt our approach to promoting healthy aging.

Still, there are times when health becomes a concern, which is why all communities have on-site nursing to ensure pro-active health management. Nurses coordinate and complete frequent assessments, take monthly vital signs checks and weight evaluations, and advise residents on disease and healthy lifestyle maintenance.

“To promote healthy aging, seniors should focus on making appropriate lifestyle choices,” says Chuck, pointing out that means such things as avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, good hygiene, and regular visits with a primary care physician.

Posted in Sage Stories on September 19, 2017

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