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

Welcome to Atlanta Regional Commission

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the designated Area Agency on Aging (AAA) that provides services to older adults and persons with disabilities in Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the city of Atlanta. ARC supports healthy living and healthy aging programs throughout the metro Atlanta area by offering a range of services designed to ensure an improved quality of life.

One of the programs offered by the AAA is the “Living Well” suite of evidence-based workshops. These workshops are designed specifically for individuals who are challenged with a range of chronic health conditions, someone with diabetes, or a person who is interested in learning ways to prevent falls. 

The National Council on Aging reports that the top ten chronic health conditions in adults age 65 and over are hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, depression, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer and dementia, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Eighty percent (80%) of this group will report having at least one chronic condition, and 68% has two or more chronic conditions. As for falls prevention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, and every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

ARC is available to provide members of the communities we serve with the necessary tools to help manage chronic health conditions and learn falls prevention techniques. We will help you to become comfortable with various behavior modifications that can help improve your confidence and make your day-to- day living more stress-free and enjoyable.

The “Living Well” workshops are hosted at community centers, senior centers, senior living locations and churches throughout the metropolitan area. The workshops can accommodate up to 16 individuals at a time and are led by two certified peer leaders.

Living Well Workshops

Healthy Changes for Living with Chronic Conditions (a.k.a. Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program/CDSMP)

This 6-week workshop teaches individuals how to cope with ongoing health conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, asthma, COPD, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and more. Participants learn how to work with doctors, manage symptoms, set realistic goals, and embrace relaxation techniques and healthy eating. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2
hours for six consecutive weeks.

Healthy Changes for Living with Diabetes (a.k.a. Stanford University’s Diabetes Self-Management Program/ DSMP)

This 6-week workshop helps individuals understand symptoms and associated complications of diabetes, the importance of medication adherence, and how to control sugar levels. Participants will also learn tips to maintain a healthy weight and techniques to manage anxiety, stress, and frustration. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours for six consecutive weeks.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers
This 6-week workshop helps caregivers learn to reduce stress, communicate their needs to family members, make tough caregiving decisions, and more. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours for six consecutive weeks.

A Matter of Balance
This 8-week workshop helps individuals reduce their fear of falling and increases activity among older adults. Participants reduce the number of injuries resulting from falls through practical lifestyle adjustments. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours for eight consecutive weeks.

For more information contact: Lynda Conner at (470) 378-1630 or by email at
lconner@atlantaregional.org

While you consider which of the self-management programs would be best for you, take a look at the following thoughts to help you with your day-to-day routine.



“A Therapist’s Prescription for Better Mental Health”
 Treat yourself with kindness
 Say “no” when you need to
 Don’t compare yourself to others
 Embrace your mistakes, they don’t define you
 Be truly present
 Make fun a priority
 Savor good memories
 Laugh often
 Anticipate joy
 Clear out the physical and emotional clutter
 Move your body more
 Put your phone down; connect with the people you’re with

By Sharon Martin, LCSW
Visit Sharon’s site for more:
https://sharonmartincounseling.com/a-therapists-prescription-for-better-mental-health