At Deupree House, we take a different approach to wellness than what you’ll find at most Cincinnati retirement communities. Too often, retirement care providers focus the majority of their attention on their residents’ immediate physical needs.
While we do have a great fitness center, we think good health means more than just physical fitness. In our ongoing attempts to address all aspects of wellbeing, we’ve made a commitment to help residents achieve six dimensions of wellness:
The average retirement community tends to overlook the point that a person’s total wellness is not defined by the condition of his or her body. For a person to want to stay active and engaged, they must feel like there is a reason to exist.
Laura Lamb, ERH’s Vice President of Residential Housing and Health Care, understands that wellbeing comes from pursuing the activities or causes that you feel passionate about.
“Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning,” says Lamb. “When you lose your purpose, you lose a lot more, including health and well-being.”
To that end, she founded the Council for Lifelong Engagement (CLLE), which facilitates senior volunteerism at ERH communities. Instead of seniors being relegated to being recipients of volunteer services, the CLLE pairs residents with local classrooms and organizations where they can share their wisdom and life experiences.
Sense of purpose can be nurtured within retirement communities.
With Earth Day approaching, it might be appropriate to look at the accomplishments Deupree House resident green-thumb Sue Pontius for a template of wellbeing.
As an avid lifelong gardener, Pontius had always grown flowers in pots on her balcony since her arrival. But she didn’t want to stop there. Encouraged by the open, engaging atmosphere in her community, she asked the groundskeeper if she might choose flowers from the greenhouse to plant around the campus. They selected plants together and got to work.
Now, Pontius heads up Deupree House’s gardening committee, which allows residents interested in horticulture to pair their love of nature and plants with the responsibility of beautifying the grounds. The work they volunteer for is hard, but it’s also physically and emotionally rewarding.
“I come back inside, dirty, exhausted and soaked with sweat,” Pontius explains. “I’m a real mess. But still, I have to do it, because it’s so satisfying. For the rest of the summer I get to watch things grow.”
The gardening committee provides a unique opportunity for Pontius and other residents to get their hands dirty as they plan, share ideas and build fast friendships— addressing not just physical health, but their vocational, intellectual and social needs, too.
And it’s a similar spirit of community, commitment to the land and nurturing that Earth Day is based upon. After a long, dreary winter, many of Cincinnati’s seniors are looking forward to celebrating spring and good stewardship of the environment.
For many residents here at Deupree, and for seniors throughout Great Cincinnati, spiritual needs are met when they have a way to ensure the world will be better for the generations coming behind them. And seniors who don’t live in a green-fingered community like Deupree House can participate in the festivities.
Cincinnati will celebrate Earth Day with several events this year.
On Saturday, April 19, from noon until 5 pm, the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition will host its Earth Day 2014 celebration at Sawyer Point. The event will be family and pet friendly, and will feature live music, environmental topic presentations, games and more.
At noon on the first three Saturdays in April, development authority 3CDC will present Duke Energy Earth Days, a series of events designed to promote green living, in downtown’s historic Washington Park. The events include lectures and presentations by conservation-minded community organizations, as well as Eco Sculpt art displays.
Now that warm weather is returning to the Tri-State, these events offer the residents of Cincinnati retirement communities an opportunity to get out in the sunshine, feel rejuvenated and refresh their senses of community and purpose.