When we think of wellness, words like “exercise,” “falls” and “medical services” typically come to mind.
However, at Carolina Village – which is Hendersonville, NC’s only continuing care retirement community – we approach wellness through eight well-connected pathways: Physical, emotional, spiritual, nutritional, environmental, social, intellectual, and vocational.
All of these elements give meaning and pleasure to the lives of our residents and help them accomplish the motto of “being alive as long as you live.”Below are some of the programs and technology we have invested in to deliver the best care in the most comprehensive way.
To meet the physical (and social) needs of our residents, we invest in exercise equipment, including two pools.
- Aquatic pool
Our larger, static pool has three components: A group area for classes, which also double as swim lanes during certain times of the day, a resistance walk, which feels almost like a lazy river, and a benched area, giving residents a Jacuzzi-like setting. The residents love group exercise classes in the larger pool, where they socialize as they stay fit.
- Therapy pool
Our therapy pool offers residents an underwater treadmill, resistance jets and a video monitoring systems where they can — in real time — monitor gait and make necessary corrections to posture. This pool offers residents running, walking and swimming possibilities. We also keep the temperature of this pool in the low 90’s, providing a soothing environment for aching joints.
We have many residents with ambulation issues that have seen great improvements through using the therapy pool. One resident was involved in a car accident many years ago and has not been able to participate in land-based exercise for many years. Now he uses the underwater treadmill to improve his gait and cardiovascular endurance.
The therapy pool fits up to four people simultaneously. I personally use this pool three times a week and have benefitted not only from the great cardio workout but also from new friendships formed with residents and staff as we talk and walk together.
In keeping with the “vocation” aspect of wellness, we also offer our residents a business center for those who want to continue working.This space offers a computer, fax machine, telephone, and a small conference room for meetings and stays especially busy this time of year during tax season!
Residents reserve the space to meet with clients or for personal interviews. A few of our budding entrepreneurs use the business center to meet with prospects and grow their businesses.
Fifty resident-run committees populate our campus. Also, two residents — each serving four year terms with full voting rights — serve on Carolina Village’s board of directors. Through these organizations our residents produce a newsletter, plan and implement special events seven days a week, staff a library, a thrift store, and a market.
Altogether, our residents give over 32,000 hours in service each year. Volunteerism is a big component of who we are and we attract residents interested in giving. Service has been a way of life for these folks and continuing to serve contributes to their spiritual and emotional wellness.
Don’t forget staffing
With all of the above said, it takes a talented staff to get things going. A facility can have the best equipment, a beautiful building and lavish equipment, but if we don’t have well-implemented programming, these investments can be ineffective. At Carolina Village, we have one full-time wellness coordinator, three full-time activity directors and one part-time aquatics leader. It’s been fascinating to watch as these talented team members—together with our residents—originate ideas and develop them into viable programs.
“Wellness” isn’t just physical. Through a focus on physical, emotional, spiritual, nutritional, environmental, social, intellectual, and vocational wellness, we can lead our communities to an increased average age and help our residents stay active and engaged.
Kevin Parries serves as the Executive Director of Carolina Village, a Type A Lifecare Continuing Care Retirement Community offering the full continuum of care from independent living to skilled care and assisted living.