Promoting wellbeing practices to improve health and ability
Episcopal Homes’ community members actively improve their physical, social and emotional wellbeing through our Active Living program. We believe that every older adult has the potential to thrive–to live an optimal life. Active Living supports this endeavor, helping older adults to stay active and socially connected regardless of physical challenges that may emerge later in life.
Education is a first step on the path toward wellbeing. We welcome older adults where they are and offer education to promote health. Our offerings underscore the important connection between nutrition and fitness and their role in optimizing health and functional ability. We don’t just keep people busy, we help elders thrive. When we invest in our elders’ physical health and wellness, we enhance quality of life, promote optimal living and reduce medical costs.
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.
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.”