Crafting a Culture of Wellness
Consider the influence each of the preceding elements has on the overall culture of the community, and seek opportunities to integrate whole-person wellness into the very fiber of daily life. There is a profound difference between using wellness programs to fill time slots in an activity schedule and fostering an environment of well-being for both residents and staff. Using the wellness approach doesn’t mean that current programs need to be thrown out! Instead, the six dimensions of wellness act as a natural framework for all programming through the following:
- Encompassing all aspects of body–mind–spirit wellness
- Providing a means for evaluating existing program offerings and new program considerations
- Providing continuity in wellness programs even amid staff turnover
- Educating all staff and residents about objectives of programming
- Helping both staff and residents view each other as whole people
- Helping both residents and staff recognize potential areas of growth, regardless of challenges
- Engaging residents and staff as active partners in their own well-being and enhancing their quality of life
- Offering staff simple, specific strategies to work together to support resident well-being
- Creating an expectation of well-being in the community and offering residents and staff strategies to support a wellness environment
An important step in creating a community-wide wellness environment is to carefully examine existing program offerings. Create a worksheet (see figure 7.2) for each dimension of wellness, and list program offerings under appropriate headings. Many programs can be listed under a couple of categories, but initially list them under the dimension reflecting the program’s primary goal. For example, chair exercise would be listed under physical dimension programs but would also fit under the social dimension. This will provide a visual representation of which wellness dimensions are program rich and which ones need further development. Include medical wellness offerings as well as life-enhancement activities.
The column titled Ideas for Expansion encourages you to think about different approaches to programs within each of the dimensions. For example, the spiritual dimension is often only represented by religious services (of various denominations) and religious study. Consider adding programs that facilitate contemplation, reflection, and meditation to support personal growth in spirituality with or without a traditional religious focus. This will help address the complexities of the people making up your community of residents. Also facilitate the individual, self-directed involvement of residents. This can be achieved by simply providing residents with access to the necessary resources to try new things on their own. For example, in the physical dimension, make exercise props and self-directed brochures or videos available so people can choose to exercise on their own. The wellness stations illustrated in chapter 5 are an excellent example of self-directed programs that address multiple dimensions of well-being. People can use the stations at their chosen days and times and at their preferred level of engagement. They may just look at the illustrations, read the positive affirmation statements, or stop to perform the functional exercise and pocket the takeaway item. Refer to chapter 5 (p. 81) for more information about using wellness stations as a unique wellness program.