February 17, 2023
Senior retirement communities have discovered something that many programs for younger people have forgotten: Life enrichment is important.
A truly effective life enrichment program focuses on all aspects of wellness—physical, mental, social, spiritual, and occupational. Many programs include several aspects of life enrichment. For example, a lecture series may be educational (mental) and social.
Discover how The Admiral at the Lake supports the physical, mental, social, spiritual, and occupational wellness of residents.
Physical Life Enrichment
In addition to balance, yoga, Zumba, aqua aerobics and other classes, the fitness center at The Admiral at the Lake offers circuit training equipment. Then, there are the other excursions residents take that increase their physical fitness, such as walking the 606 or the Riverwalk.
The World Health Organization recommends that seniors
- Perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
- Perform aerobic activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
- Increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate-and vigorous-intensity activity for increased health benefits.
- Engage in muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, 2 or more days a week.
- With poor mobility should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
- Who cannot do the recommended amounts of physical activity due to health conditions should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
Physical activity improves cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and bone and functional health and reduces the risk of noncommunicable diseases, depression and cognitive decline:
Mental Life Enrichment
Enhancing mental fitness does not solely focus on preventing declines in cognition commonly associated with aging, it includes improving mood, preventing mental illnesses, and increasing mental sharpness and memory.
As a Kendal associate, The Admiral at the Lake emphasizes lifelong learning. Many Kendal communities are associated with institutions of higher learning. Here at The Admiral, resident and Lifelong Learning Committee head Toni Smith has worked tirelessly to develop a relationship with the University of Chicago.
In addition, resident writers, artists, professors, artisans and others conduct classes, seminars, and workshops for fellow residents. Neighborhood meetings, seminars by experts and educational workshops also inform community members. For example, upcoming seminars include topics such as moving, financial, and healthcare planning advice.
Older adults can improve their mental health by engaging in the following:
- Socialize with other adults
- Stay engaged with the family
- Call on friends
- Use technology
- Go back to school
- Get a pet
- Play games
- Focus on your spirituality
Social Life Enrichment
No matter what your age, social activity, whether casual or intimate, provides proven health benefits. Access to social activity, unfortunately, becomes more of an issue if you’re disabled or living at home. That’s one of the reasons experts are proponents of group settings, such as senior centers and senior retirement communities.
Intergenerational programs, such as The Admiral at the Lake’s reading program with students from nearby Goudy School, are proven to be of benefit to children and adults who participate. But even unorganized socialization, such as taking a class at the fitness center, chatting at the salon, enjoying a gourmet dinner at the Waterfront, working on one of The Admiral’s resident committees, or connecting on the resident portal has been shown to improve mental and physical health.
Experts say social interaction and social goals are both important in quality of life for older adults. Goals include the ways seniors prefer to interact, such as volunteering, attending a concert, or at a religious service.
Spiritual Life Enrichment
The scientifically-documented benefits of religion don’t derive so much from a deep spiritual connection but from something that’s much easier to attain—involvement. Studies show that religious attendance one or more times a week can extend lifespan by as much as 7 years.
Although The Admiral at the Lake is founded on Quaker values, residents follow diverse spiritual paths.
The University of Kansas offers 7 suggestions to maintain your spiritual wellness:
- Explore your spirituality.
- Look for deeper meanings in your life.
- Express what is on your mind.
- Try yoga, a physical technique that may improve spiritual wellness.
- Think positively.
Occupational Life Enrichment
You may wonder how a retirement community could enhance the lives of residents using occupational life enrichment. However, occupational enrichment, in large part, consists of developing a purpose in life. Volunteering, starting your own business, taking classes, and traveling can all be considered occupational life enrichment.
Studies indicate that people who work part-time or temporary jobs after they retire experience significantly better mental and physical health. Similar benefits occur for volunteers, travelers, and life-long learners.
Resident committees determine the offerings and drive the lifestyle at The Admiral at the Lake. Every resident may contribute as much or as little as they wish.
Many residents continue to work in the fields they love. H&R Block Master Tax Adviser Jay Schachner, primary care nurse practitioner Helen Shidler and consultant Scott McCausland follow their chosen professions while living at The Admiral at the Lake.
Our walls are covered with works from resident artists, who continue to paint and sculpt. Professors and teachers continue to teach and lecture, both on and off campus.
Designed for Life Enrichment
The Admiral at the Lake is a continuing care community designed to foster the personal independence, health, and wellness of members. The architectural design, programs, and staff work together to enrich the lives of residents. Interested in experiencing life enrichment at its best? Call 773.433.1801 or click here.