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Striving for the health of your residents is something you do every day. But are you doing enough to ensure their emotional wellness?
Among the eight dimensions of wellness, emotional wellness is one of the hardest to quantify — and yet one of the most important. To be emotionally well, a person must be aware of their feelings, processing and accepting them rather than denying them. They must be able to handle life’s stresses and adapt to change.
This dimension of wellness is often overlooked by seniors as they attempt to better their physical health but neglect their emotional health, living with burdensome issues that go unaddressed.
Though life plan communities often offer groups that help seniors cope with loss and grief, there are many other facets of emotional wellness to be explored.
Encouraging mindfulness can be powerful for those residents who need to slow down, get in touch with how they truly feel, and deal with repressed emotions. Meditation allows those who are constantly searching for distractions to take a moment to breathe and find peace. It may be helpful to provide preliminary education on meditation for your residents, so they understand what it is and what it can do for them.
The social and emotional dimensions of wellness depend heavily on each other in order to flourish. For some seniors, however, feeling isolated and misunderstood brings frustration and loneliness.
Creating groups for seniors with shared experiences can act as a opportunity for bonding on a deeper level. For instance, these groups could include veterans; residents aged 90 and older; former teachers, clergy people, engineers, or artists — anyone who needs an understanding group with whom to share their feelings and experiences.
The conversations, connections, and friendships that result from these groups can help seniors begin to improve their emotional wellness and feel understood.
Another way to break down barriers to emotional wellness is through destigmatizing conversations about mental health. For many seniors, talking about depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder is still seen as taboo. By making these subjects approachable in safe spaces at your community, you can allow residents to recognize and address their mental health issues and begin to heal.
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