“MOVEMENT EQUALS IMPROVEMENT.” That is a clever phrase used consistently by the wellness teams at Sterling Estates Senior Living Communities. After spending time touring their state-of-the-art fitness facilities, we can say this is much more than just a phrase. It’s a ‘philosophy.’ The Wellness Directors and their teams are well versed and serious about how beneficial staying physically active is for their residents, and this philosophy seems to trickle into every aspect of community life.
It’s common knowledge older adults who do more aerobic physical activity have reduced risks of age-related physical problems, accidents, and ailments. Additionally, consistent activity substantially and positively affects their mental attitudes, sleeping habits and overall quality of life. We didn’t realize though that the latest research indicates sticking with exercise routines as we age reduces the incidence of many cancers, dementia, anxiety, depression, and weight gain.
It’s tough motivating ourselves sometimes to be more active, and it’s even tougher on our own to encourage our aging parents and loved ones to exercise more. What we noticed at Sterling Estates is how impactful the Wellness Directors are with motivating residents. The group participation of the many classes offered on site seems to be a big factor instilling a community-wide mindset of wellness and activity.
We spoke with Ayles Herrington, Wellness Director at Sterling Estates of West Cobb, who explained, “Our residents enjoy the camaraderie, and we know it produces better results when we are all encouraging each other to stay as independent as possible.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are addressing the common issues of isolation and loneliness in the baby boomer generation. They say that caregivers and loved ones who deliberately provide environments for regular social interaction really helps. This is positive affirmation of Sterling Estates’ approach to wellness as a core value. Herrington agrees and has witnessed improvement in overall happiness for many residents who move into Sterling Estates from their homes where there was less social interaction with their peers.
How is Sterling so effective in getting residents to participate in its wellness programs? Aside from the natural motivation that occurs in group settings, we think it’s because their Wellness Directors build relationships with the individual residents, treating each with understanding and respect - which allows each to be more open to the idea of getting fit. New residents meet with Wellness Directors to help plan overall wellness routines, even working with doctors and loved ones to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Herrington beamed when she said, “In 2018 we had over 80% of our residents participating in at least three physical fitness sessions a week!” The programs at Sterling Estates offer residents many options including one-on-one personal training, a variety of group exercise classes, individual or group water aerobics in their onsite indoor heated saline pools, daily walking throughout the large campuses and gardening in their communal resident gardens. They even have a bocce ball court that gets great participation throughout the year with plans to add shuffleboard courts this spring.
So leap into the new year and get moving. You’ll never regret your efforts to improve your personal fitness and will be surprised with how it increases your overall happiness. Your health is the greatest gift to yourself, and one thing money can’t buy.