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Key to whole person wellness includes spiritual focus

Posted on: November 30, 2012

What does spirituality mean to you? "It's not always about Shabbat or an organized religious service," said JoAnne Carlin, Vice President of Resident Care at Vi. "For example, some people follow faith-based activities, some do personal meditation/reflection, others do mindful exercise like yoga or tai chi and many find spirituality in simply taking a daily nature walk."

fitness for all agesAccording to Carlin, the spiritual dimension of whole person wellness seeks meaning and purpose in human existence. It involves developing a strong sense of personal values and ethics, and it emphasizes the development of an appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe.

Recently, Vi at Silverstone hosted two special workshops on the basics of mediation taught by a Buddhist Monk. "The goal of the program was to teach the basic principles of meditation from a wellness perspective," said Theresa Healy, RN, Vi at Silverstone's Wellness Center Manager. "The workshops focused on decreasing stress, normalizing blood pressure, effective breathing and learning that being happy is a lifestyle that promotes overall wellness."

Healy also noted that meditation, or mindfulness, has been a key component of her own personal journey.

"As a nurse, I have integrated it into my care of Vi residents," Healy said. "Our meditation group is quite active, and, by resident request, we now have it twice a week."

According to Vi at Silverstone's Lifestyle Director Jacqui McCormley, the community offers a number of other avenues to help residents explore and tap into their own spirituality.

"Art and creative classes can be considered spiritual," said McCormley. "Often, when we explore our creative side, we discover a whole new connection with 'self.' This is why we offer creative programs, like various art workshops and lectures."

At Vi at La Jolla Village, residents have been doing tai chi, a form of movement and meditation, for several years. Residents have learned, through the memorization of the movements, to meditate while moving.

"Our tai chi instructor is a Grand Master with years of experience and training," said Mellany Hanson, Vi at La Jolla Village's Lifestyle Director. "He focuses on balance of mind, body and spirit through breathing and movement exercises."

Vi has also created environments that support the exploration of spirituality. For example, some Vi communities have been intentionally designed with walking paths to enjoy nature, while others feature artwork and sculptures in common spaces and quiet areas with seating for personal reflection. As one navigates through the aging journey, different stages of life can bring new meaning to spirituality.

At Vi there are no set boundaries about how residents express their spirituality. Rather, the lifestyle programs are designed to allow residents to explore their individual spiritual wellness-from the inside out.

Learn more about whole person wellness at Vi

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