No matter your age, experts agree it’s important and essential to stay physically active. But physical activity isn’t the only key to good health and well-being. A comprehensive approach to wellness involving several other factors adds up to a full and satisfying life.
Luthercare was intentional and purposeful in creating a well-rounded health and wellness experience across the lifestyle and services we provide to our residents, children and families, and the team members in our organization. We created a company-wide Wellness Statement and Wellness Wheel to express how we would offer programs and services to meet the needs of the whole person while taking into account the individual’s interests and goals.
The following statement was crafted, with involvement from team members across various departments:
- “Luthercare embraces wellness of the whole person by enriching life through a variety of healthy choices. At the heart of our approach is a commitment to foster opportunities for both individual and community experiences that promote a state of well-being by integrating all dimensions of wellness.”
- By design, Luthercare’s programming is meant to foster a lifestyle of wellness, whether it’s offering chair yoga for personal care residents; educational programs for residents and those in the greater community; art as a method of self-expression at Luthercare for Kids Early Learning Centers; or free membership to the Luther Acres Wellness Center to team members.
- “We offer programs aimed at improving each resident’s, each child’s and each team member’s mind, body and spirit,” says Kristen Oleary, Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
- The concept of wellness at Luthercare centers around seven “spokes” on the Wellness Wheel, which are: social, spiritual, physical, environmental, vocational, intellectual and emotional. Each contributes to our overall well-being.
Our social programming offers residents opportunities to interact with each other, fostering friendships and creating a broader sense of community. Programs at our senior living communities range from on-campus cooking, art or crafting classes – where residents learn new techniques and more about each other in the process – to fun excursions to local historical sites and attractions or area restaurants. There are plenty of opportunities to gather with friends, whether residents attend a pool party, a trivia event or even trips to New York’s Wine Country and the shore.
Additionally, many clubs and groups meet across our campuses to focus on varying interests, from book clubs and choirs to sewing groups and Life Story Writers groups!
As a faith-based organization, Luthercare has a responsibility to create opportunities to nurture the faith of its residents, their families and our team members. Our Director of Church Relations and Pastoral Care also works to make connections with local pastors and church leaders in Lancaster and Lebanon counties and oversees the work of a full-time chaplain at each of the three senior living communities. Our spiritual programming focuses not only on spiritual health and growth, but also on providing residents with a sense of well-being, meaning and purpose.
Each of the chaplains brings a deep passion and concern for our residents, families and team members, regardless of faith traditions or spiritual beliefs. With a ministry of listening and caring, the chaplains offer weekly worship services, prayer services and hymn sings. Residents also come together for Bible studies and informal moments to enrich their spiritual lives.
One area of ministry that is unique to Luthercare is its disaster response work, which brings members of local congregations together on relief work trips that are examples of true ecumenism at its best. There has also been a great deal of disaster response done here at home following the floods of this past summer. Giving people the opportunity to serve in this way provides the positive effects of doing good for others while getting some exercise as well!
Luthercare offers many opportunities for our residents, children and team members to reach their wellness goals, whether that be proper nutrition, continuing an exercise program or learning a new one, or just moving more.
A fully equipped Wellness Center at Luther Acres in Lititz is now open for use 24 hours a day to all Luther Acres residents, Priority Wait List members and team members. The Wellness Center is staffed by trained personnel who teach a variety of health and wellness classes and provide assistance in developing a fitness routine that is appropriate for each individual, whether that means riding a bike, lifting weights, walking on the treadmill or swimming in the indoor heated pool. St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia features a Fitness Center, along with scheduled exercise classes, to help residents increase strength, muscle tone, flexibility, balance and more! The community also offers a paid membership to the nearby Hempfield Recreation Center for those interested in the facility’s programs and services. With spring and warmer weather just around the corner, our residents will also head outdoors to enjoy our campuses’ beautifully landscaped grounds with paths, patios and resting spots for walking and enjoying with friends and family.
In addition to the amenities at our campuses, our communities feature a variety of clubs and team sports, from a bicycle club to walking groups to a water volleyball team. Each year, our residents take part in health-focused activities, such as the Lancaster Senior Games and the Luther Acres Health and Wellness Fair. Our personal care and skilled healthcare centers also offer wellness programs and exercises that focus on strength, balance, stretching and endurance, as well as rehabilitation therapy.
Through our Luthercare for Kids Early Learning programs, children are encouraged to be active, with teachers incorporating physical activity into daily routines and teaching kids how to make healthy food choices. And a company wide wellness program encourages healthy habits in our team members.
Environmental wellness ensures every resident and child in our care feels safe and secure, in a residence or space that is comfortable and feels like home. Luthercare has placed great thought into creating spaces and undergoing transformational renovations and enhancements that create opportunities for connections for our residents and their friends and families. Some recent examples of those projects include: the opening of the state-of-art Luthercare for Kids – Marietta Early Learning Center in partnership with Community Bible Church; renovations to the Luther Acres Healthcare Center and the Rehab to Home Centers at Luther Acres and Spang Crest; and the complete makeover of the Muhlenberg Apartment Building at Luther Acres. We are also exploring options for upgrades and possible expansion at St. John’s Herr Estate.
The emotional dimension of wellness focuses on how to maintain a positive attitude through life’s many ups and downs. Our Community Life managers and therapeutic recreation teams offer techniques and programs for relaxation and stress management, and residents are encouraged to seek support when needed.
“It’s exciting to see how deeply Luthercare values health and wellness. The range of opportunities available to our residents, children and team members enables them to live their lives well – doing the things they love while maintaining active, healthy lifestyles,” Kristen Oleary says.
This dimension of wellness focuses on encouraging a spirit of volunteerism as well as enriching lives through cultivating hobbies and developing new interests and skills.
There are many opportunities for residents and team members to lend a helping hand to service projects for the greater community. A sampling of the projects in the past year: a disaster relief trip to Puerto Rico; participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s® in Lancaster; and baking homemade biscuits and collecting treats, toys and other products for the Humane Society of Lebanon County. Luthercare leadership greatly supports team members who want to give back to the community by volunteering their time and talents in service on, for example, not-for-profit boards, town councils and in local Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs.
The various classes and amenities at our communities – such as a woodshop, a Horticulture Center and raised garden beds – offer residents easy access to continue a favorite hobby or learn a new one.
“There are many opportunities for our residents to try something new, to come together with others in service, and to be as busy as they want to be,” says Kristen.
Encouraging a lifelong love of learning is deeply valued by Luthercare. We offer opportunities for enrichment and learning through our reDiscover program. The program, offered three times a year, provides residents, their families and friends, and the greater community with a series of classes to learn new things, be creative and have fun! They range from history and technology classes to ballroom dancing, watercolor painting, tai chi and much more. And Healthcare Center residents take a once-a-week Spanish language class at Luther Acres.
Luthercare is also utilizing technology that combines cognitive activity, technical skill-building, interpersonal and group engagement, and a lot of fun! It’s Never 2 Late® (iN2L) is a customized computer system with therapeutic and entertainment content and hardware for use in senior living communities. Residents can participate in trivia, karaoke, painting activities – and even stay connected with family and friends across the world by uploading photos and sharing stories to their individual accounts.
“By offering such a diverse collection of classes, workshops and amenities to our residents, we are hopefully able to open up their minds to new ideas, experiences and challenges as they continue to pursue lifelong learning,” Kristen says.