Promoting wellbeing practices to improve health and ability
We believe that every older adult has the potential to thrive–to live an optimal life. Episcopal Homes’ Active Living program supports this endeavor, helping older adults to stay active and socially connected, regardless of physical challenges that may emerge later in life.
Uniquely, elders volunteer to co-create offerings with our personal trainers, physical therapists and other staff members, such as chair yoga, dance and other group offerings. Co-created classes compliment staff-led wellness offerings, such as aquatic therapy, balance and falls prevention, strength and cardio activities. We also offer special programs for elders with Parkinson’s disease and their spouses.
When our elders co-create Active Living offerings, they inspire neighbors and friends to stay active and connect—and in doing so, they gain a sense of purpose. Together, our resident-volunteers, participants and staff foster social connectedness that benefits health and resiliency. While investing in our elders’ physical health we promote optimal living and enhance quality of life.
Story of Impact
Boxing a better life
Fred Emmings, a former St. Paul surgeon, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 68. Anticipating the need for advanced care, Fred and his wife Judy moved into Episcopal Homes’ Cornelia House about seven years ago. After three years, independent living became too much as Judy’s Alzheimer’s Disease required more care than Fred could provide. Now, Fred lives in Iris Park Commons, an assisted living community, just one floor below Judy, who resides in the memory care community, Katy’s Cottage.
Life impacting health conditions could be cause for isolation and further decline, but Fred remains an inspiration to others across the Episcopal Homes community. To maintain his wellbeing, Fred invests time in his own fitness and, in the process, strengthens his own social support structure. That support comes from Episcopal Homes’ Active Living offerings.
Once a week, Fred boxes with other community members who have Parkinson’s in a recurring group led by Episcopal Homes’ staff. Boxing helps participants improve their strength and balance, and naturally releases Dopamine—essential for those with Parkinson’s.
Fred compares his boxing program to taking a dose of medicine. At times, he feels so well he leaves his walker behind. “Being active in the fitness center has improved my outlook on life,” says Fred. “It’s made a clear difference. I notice my balance has improved and I feel a certain energy in my walk.”
In addition to physical health gains, wellbeing programs like Active Living focus on strengthening social supports. This is particularly important as loneliness impacts more than a third of American adults and is most common among elders facing life circumstances like loss of a loved one or chronic or catastrophic illnesses like Parkinson’s.
Our Specialty Wellness Center has a lot to offer for older adults. Make sure to check out our specific pages to learn more!
Active Living programming is funded entirely by the generosity of donors to Episcopal Homes Foundation.
Residents can view Active Living programming on their television at Episcopal Homes by turning to channel 3.1
Questions? Contact Active Living Director, Julie Niewald: 651-272-4953
Programming is made possible, in part, by the following partnerships:
Episcopal Homes is a member of the International Council on Active Aging. The ICAA Integrated Wellness Model is the foundation of our wellness program. “We believe that everyone can live their optimum life while facing the challenges of aging.”