September 3, 2007
Table of Contents
Attention SFA Members
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Whole-Person Wellness for Vital Living: Part Four
New subscribers can read the first three installments of this five-part series on wellness by SFA author Jan Montague, MGS, by clicking on "Whole-Person Wellness for Vital Living." Below, Ms. Montague describes research suggesting that in many cases whole-person wellness can impede the aging process.
Research shows that for many aging individuals, participation in whole-person wellness programs slows the aging process and promotes independence. In 1987, the MacArthur Foundation's Study of Aging in America provided a new framework for the study of aging and quality of life. Spearheaded by Drs. John W. Rowe and Robert L. Kahn, the study was designed to explore the factors responsible for the positive aspects of aging. Its goals were to "move beyond the limited view of chronological age and to clarify the genetic, biomedical, behavioral, and social factors responsible for retaining -- and even enhancing -- people's ability to function in later life."
The MacArthur Foundation donated more than 10 million dollars in support and supplied thousands of older adult participants. During a period of 10 years, the results from dozens of interdisciplinary research projects were examined. The combined data from those studies provided the best evidence that successful aging is not determined by genetic inheritance. Instead, we age successfully by incorporating wellness concepts and beliefs into all aspects of our lives.
Several pertinent conclusions from the MacArthur Foundation's Study of Aging in America involve the following:
In conclusion, society is beginning to embrace a new perspective -- healthy aging. Today people are more likely to be defined by what they can do, rather than by what they can't do. Seniors are becoming role models for younger cohorts because they are achieving desirable health outcomes by combining whole-person wellness principles with self-responsibility for health.
Current research is showing that the wellness model is not a passing fad. In the coming years, more and more senior living communities and senior service origanizations will adopt wellness as their core philosophy. By choosing wellness, they will set the new standard by promoting successful living. We must continue to focus on prevention, whole-person involvement, and the implementation of programs and services that keep people healthy in mind, body, and spirit throughout their lifespan.
(Be sure to see the next issue of Experience! for the final installment in this five-part series.)
Let's Be Healthy
The authors of Purina's "Newtrition" magazine want you to know that while you're meeting the needs of your pet, that pet just might be helping you right back (You Scratch My Back..., Issue 1, 2007). Following are some examples they provide that are certain to give you paws -- sorry, pause:
When You Need to Calm Down
In a recent issue of its publication "Ray of Hope," Hospice of Volusia-Flagler (Florida) describes three practical exercises that can help not only individuals coping with loss, but also those facing other challenging stress situations in life:
The first is called square breathing. When contending with trauma or loss, people often will hold their breath. It's a subconscious attempt to stay in control, but it actually compounds the stress. Instead, assume a seated position with good posture and find your "sitting bones." Then find your pelvic bones. Next, mentally picture the formation of a cubic square connecting them. Breathe deeply downward into that imaginary square. If you need help to breathe that deeply, try placing your hands on the back of your head.
The second involves summoning memories of a safe place. When loss or distress leads you to feel vulnerable, it may be helpful to envision a place where you have felt safe and protected. If you cannot recall such a time or place, use your imagination to visualize a safe setting where no harm can touch you. Take your time and experience all of the comforting aspects of your safe place: the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings. Breathe in the sense of safety and let it fill you.
The third is called 3-2-1. Hospice recommends performing it to help bring yourself back into the here-and-now at times when your mind is racing, you cannot banish certain troubling thoughts, or you feel overwhelmed with emotion. Proceed in this order:
Experience! readers: Thank you for your interest and questions. Due to the high volume of contacts SFA receives, we cannot respond to individual queries or comments. However, the newsletter does address frequently asked questions and topics of vital interest to our members.
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