The term holistic has become increasingly popular over the last decade. In the senior living industry, the most innovative care providers believe it is more than just a fad. For retirement communities like The Claiborne in Hattiesburg, acknowledging how important it is to care for seniors’ in ways that support their mind, body and spirit is part of the mission.
The term holistic comes from the Greek word holism. It translates to all, whole, or entire. A holistic approach to care recognizes that each aspect of a person – mind, body, spirit – has an effect on their whole being.
The Evidence to Support Holistic Senior Care
Surveys like Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being increasingly support how the connections between the mind, body and spirit can impact overall well-being. Stress caused by economic worries, for example, don’t just affect the mind. They can also cause a senior’s physical health to suffer. They might catch colds more frequently or develop a problem with their blood pressure. The same holds true for older adults’ living situations. Those who live alone and feel isolated are more likely to suffer from depression and other health care issues.
Another study published in 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlighted how engaging in the right leisure activities can keep brain cells stimulated and cognitive skills intact longer. That combination reduces the risk for dementia. Leisure pastimes found to have brain health benefits include board games, performing volunteer work, and playing musical instruments. It is important to know that these activities can be adapted to whatever the senior’s abilities will allow. For example, an older adult may not be able to volunteer their time at a local children’s shelter due to problems with mobility. But they can help by organizing a group at their assisted living community to knit blankets or mittens.
Treating the Mind, Body and Spirit of Retirement Living Residents
With that knowledge in mind, progressive communities like The Claiborne work even harder to get to know each resident on a personal level and to understand their unique situation. Then they develop a personalized plan of care that addresses their needs as a whole person.
Some examples of how we do that include:
- Providing a full calendar of life enrichment activities developed to engage a wide-variety of resident interests. Activities range from gardening to exercise programs and an in-house movie theater.
- A physical environment designed to make it easy to enjoy companionship and fellowship with other residents, family members and staff.
- Chapel services for residents of all faiths to enjoy and participate in, if desired.
- Community outings to help residents stay engaged and active in events around the Hattiesburg, MS area.
- Specially trained dementia care activity professionals who understand how to support senior’s impairments in ways that still encourage independence.
- Having a physician or physician’s assistant on-site to help prevent small medical issues from becoming a crisis.
- Providing the peace of mind that comes from knowing care and services are nearby when needed.
The bottom line is that caring for the mind, body, and spirit of our seniors is an integration of wellness, engagement and faith. It helps us keep our residents joyful, healthy, and whole.