Submitted by Meridian Village
We all age. But the bigger question is: Are we aging well? Meridian Village Senior Living Community in Glen Carbon, Illinois knew that the answer was always going to be more than just a wellness program. It had to be all encompassing.
“We’re advocates for aging well. It’s what we’re all about and it’s our mission – Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest,” says Colleen Bottens, Executive Director. “This past year, we’ve been focusing on how we could take our mission one step further with a combined focus across all areas of Meridian Village on the question of successful aging. It’s been about how can we make our best better.”
Through a partnership with Masterpiece Living, a leader in offering research-based initiatives and programs for healthy aging, Meridian Village looked at four key areas – Social, Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual – to bring its residents and staff members a well-rounded strategy for aging successfully.
SOCIAL - How does connecting myself with others help me age successfully?
Socialization offers numerous benefits that residents and employees at Meridian Village are reaping. Research shows that being connected with others not only adds years to your life, but can also reduce the risk of stroke, boost your immune system, lower or delay your risk of memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease, and relieve pain.
“People who are alone have a 200% increased risk of dementia,” says Naomi Smith, Lifestyle Enrichment Coordinator. “But being social is more than just gathering with a bunch of people in a room. Through Masterpiece Living we’re looking at all the social programs and activities we offer and thinking about how we can connect people to each other on a deeper level.”
Charlotte Gougeon has been a resident at Meridian Village since May 2011 and Fran Reinagel since April 2013. They are resident champions for Masterpiece Living and say the social aspect is very important.
“My hope is that more people will take advantage of these great opportunities,” says Charlotte. “I always say when everyone asks me that living at Meridian Village is like having a bunch of brothers and sisters. We want the best for one another, which is why with the social aspect of Masterpiece Living, we can connect with one another on a deeper level that ultimately will affect everyone’s health.
Fran agrees. “This is one of the reasons that I moved to Meridian Village – to be a part of this community. I love that Masterpiece Living integrates a social component into successful aging.”
INTELLECTUAL – How does life-long learning help me age successfully?
“There’s a tale that as you get older you can’t grow new brain cells, and research is showing that’s just not true,” says Tammy Williams, Lifestyle Enrichment Coordinator. “Having come alongside Masterpiece Living and all the research they’ve been doing has really opened my eyes to all the opportunities we have to continue to learn as we age.”
Offering Spanish as a foreign language as well as a variety of other educational trips, classes, and opportunities, residents and staff are looking to build upon the benefits of an in-shape brain. From modeling positive behavior in continued learning, to staying in touch with the world, learning new skills and hobbies, and keeping the brain healthy, residents like Fran are taking their intellectual health seriously.
“I continually try to learn different things. Since I’ve moved to Meridian Village I’ve participated in numerous tours. I bought myself a steel drum for my own enjoyment and that’s also been a great learning experience. I’ve tried different things that I never thought I would.”
And with residents in the figural driver’s seat as to what they want to learn, Tammy loves watching the results of engaged learning. “To me it’s very empowering for our residents because I can serve them better based on their feedback and what they want to learn. We’re never too old and it’s all about being engaged in life and taking advantage of what’s in front of us.”
PHYSICAL – How does staying active and eating nutritionally help me age successfully?
“It’s doesn’t have to be an over-the-hill thing,” says Dawn Determan. “Your physical activity doesn’t have to end and anytime is the perfect time to start.” As the Recreational Coordinator, Dawn has been anticipating the rollout of Masterpiece Living since the beginning of the partnership.
“Masterpiece Living offers beautiful resources and data that they’ve been developing for years that we’re able to bring to our residents and employees so they can have a successful age journey. And that means that everyone at Meridian Village has the opportunity to make the best better.”
The benefits of physical activity are numerous, including controlling your weight, strengthening your bones and muscles, improving your ability in daily activities, and preventing falls. With Masterpiece Living, Charlotte is more intentional with her nutrition and physical fitness.
“I take several exercise classes already but because of Masterpiece Living I’m making a commitment to getting back to the gym. I think people should have a whole different attitude on aging. You are as old as you feel and numbers are just numbers. You shouldn’t stop being physically active just because you turn 80.”
SPIRITUAL – How does my inward well-being help me successfully age?
What makes your heart sing? Is it personal reflection in the chapel, a walk in the woods, or helping new life grow? Each resident who participates in Masterpiece Living is encouraged to seek and define his or her own spiritual well-being and ways that they can find peace.
“At Meridian Village we recognize that there are a variety of spiritual beliefs,” says LaMetria Johnson, Business Office Manager. “With Masterpiece Living we’re looking to give opportunities to all in which people can find peace in their lives amidst the chaos.”
That chaos could center on health concerns, the well-being of friends and family members, the world, and the future. With so many unknowns, the stress of these concerns can lead to many physical issues including headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and sleep problems.
“By participating in Masterpiece Living and creating an awareness of the need for inward well-being, I think it will lead many people to not only feel physically better, but also to have a better outlook on life,” says LaMetria. “That, I think, is a really big part of successful aging – finding what makes your heart sing and creating room in your day to draw upon the strength of your beliefs when life gets chaotic.”
While residents and Meridian Village employees look forward to the continuation of Masterpiece Living and the benefits it brings, Executive Director Colleen already sees the impact that it has had on the lives of their community and the ultimate goal of aging successfully.
“Social, Physical, Intellectual, and Spiritual are all important when it comes to aging successfully,” says Colleen. “I am so proud of our team here at Meridian Village, the resident ambassadors of Masterpiece Living, and the rest of our community. Coming together to age well and experiencing all the benefits is how we’re continuing to Live Life to the Fullest.”
Come learn how our mission of “Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest” impacts everything that we do—for your mind and heart! Call today at 618.205.2144 for more information.
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