Atlanta Regional Commission’s Wellness Programs

Benefits of Wellness Programs

Senior wellness programs offer educational and health benefits that can directly improve the quality of life of the participant.  Wellness programs offer ideas and tips on how to live longer healthier lives, improve socialization and help to increase energy levels.   The focus of senior health or wellness programs is to educate seniors on how best to manage their health and activity levels for optimal function, performance, and overall happiness.   You can reach these goals through exercise classes, attending workshops, or joining your community senior center where various activities are offered throughout the week.

 Wellness Programs Goals

Prevention  

One of the goals of a senior wellness program is to keep seniors informed of the importance of awareness, preventive care, and health maintenance.  Areas explored in wellness programs that address prevention could be:

  •  The importance of yearly flu shots
  •  Driving safety
  •  Falls prevention
  • Exercise for endurance and strength
  • Healthy eating
  •  Managing a chronic health condition
  •  Taking medications as directed by a physician
  • Making difficult decisions

Independence

Encouraging and supporting seniors in their efforts to maintain their independence is very important and helps them have a richer personal life and the ability to remain in their homes longer living independently.  One way to accomplish this is through regular exercise and better fitness levels that promote the ability to achieve improved mobility, range of motion, balance, stability, strength and endurance.  All of which will improve the quality of life and help maintain independence.

Signs A Wellness Program May Help

You may notice that the person who worked a long day at the office and then spent evenings and weekends cooking, cleaning, attending social events, and other activities can no longer get upstairs without help.  Low impact activities can easily be enough to wear you out. You may be wondering what is happening.  As we age, our body can change dramatically and that includes our endurance and health status.  People 60 and over can suffer from a myriad of health challenges.  The most common, according to the National Institutes of Health are hypertension, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and bronchial asthma.  This could be a signal that getting involved in a wellness program could be a wise choice.

Some of the changes may start gradually and may be noticed by you or possibly a family member or friend.  However, some of the changes may be difficult for you to detect yourself.   Some signs of changes in physical and/or cognitive abilities may be:

  1. Changing eating habits, resulting in weight loss, appetite loss or missing meals
  2. Neglecting personal hygiene, including clothing, body odor, oral health
  3. Neglecting the home with a noticeable change in tidiness and/or sanitation
  4. Exhibiting inappropriate behavior such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, agitated or making telephone calls at unusual hours
  5. Changes in relationship patterns that may cause friends and neighbors to express concern
  6. Becoming withdrawn.  A decrease in activities that were once considered enjoyable such as playing bridge, attending book club gatherings, dining with friends or religious services.
  7. Exhibiting forgetfulness, unfilled prescriptions, missed appointments
  8. Mishandling finances
  9. Making unusual purchases

If you have noticed any of the warning signs consider talking with the loved ones primary care physician to share your observations and concerns.

Also, in some instances, consider a well- coordinated wellness program or self-management workshop.  These programs can help through education and providing the opportunity to be with other seniors who may very likely be challenged with the same of similar situations. 

Lynda Conner

Atlanta Regional Commission