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Improving Wellness with Zumba

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As we age there are many emotional and physical transitions to cope with, and change is difficult, no matter how old you are. It’s natural to feel those losses. But if that sense of loss is balanced with positive ingredients, you have a recipe for staying healthy as you age.

“Regardless of underlying medical conditions the data is clear that the one thing that will increase the length and quality of life is exercise.”

Healthy aging means finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community. An active lifestyle as you age can help reduce physical illness and emotional distress and increase longevity and quality of life. It is never too late to start to exercise. Regular physical activity helps you look and feel younger and stay independent longer. It also lowers your risk for a variety of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and obesity. The mood benefits of exercise can be just as great in the elderly as for the youth. And did you know that exercise and stretching that is appropriate for your ability, will reduce falls and increase balance. At Idylwood Care Center, their Medical Director, Dr. Silver, observed about their residents and exercise, “Regardless of underlying medical conditions the data is clear that the one thing that will increase the length and quality of life is exercise.”

 

Greg Leading Zumba

Greg Parnell getting Idylwood residents and staff moving and having fun during a Zumba class.

 

Motivation to exercise as you age can be challenged by the loss of strength and stamina, medical conditions and lack of social support. Communities play an important role in promoting health and wellness. Recently Greg Parnell, Crestwood’s Health and Wellness Facilitator and Zumba Zen Master, visited Idylwood Care Center to work with their new Zumba instructor, Elsa DeIxta. Residents and staff alike had a great time moving their bodies to a playlist of music featuring oldies and Latin classics.

“Zumba has shown to help create new neural pathways and new brain cell growth reversing signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and improving physical, psychological and emotional health,” said Greg. He adapted the class to be done in a chair or bed for those that are bed bound or physically disabled. “As I visit each of our unique campuses, the one thing I know for sure is when more staff are involved in participating in a Zumba class, it inspires more of our clients to participate. Zumba and exercise are a part of our Wellness Initiative and when we get moving together, it feels like one big community coming together, creating an organizational wellness landscape. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do Zumba, as long as you are moving and smiling.”

Contributed by
Cindy Mataraso, Director of Operations

 


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The Power of Meaningful Roles

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Crestwood Behavioral Health’s whole person approach to healing, wellness, recovery and resiliency includes a focus on enhancing or developing a meaningful role in one’s daily life. As psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, observed, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Research in positive psychology has found that a meaningful role can lead to a positive attitude, increased happiness, sense of belonging, sense of purpose, increased self-worth and promotes self-accountability.

At Crestwood we embrace the need for meaningful roles and it is one of our four Pillars of Recovery that also includes Hope, Empowerment, and Spirituality. It is defined as positive identities within the places we live, learn, work and socialize, which creates a sense of purpose and value. Crestwood’s healing and resiliency-building campuses promote this in many ways. The people we serve contribute daily to our campuses, including co-creating schedules of activities, participating in the functions of the day and educating staff, either through co-presenting at staff education meetings or participating in change of shifts.

Meaningful roles also come from those we are in a relationship with. Our clients are recognized and valued for their relationships as a roommate, parent, child and community member. As a community member, our clients contribute in positive ways such as volunteering at local homeless shelters or animal rescue groups. Clients often also take on the role of teacher or mentor as they come together to support their fellow residents in their healing. Our Crestwood campuses also provide opportunities for meaningful roles through shared group activities such as art shows and sporting events like the Crestwood Olympics, where more than seven campuses get together for fun and friendly competition.

At Crestwood, opportunities for meaningful roles for our clients do not stop at their discharge. Clients are supported in their recovery and wellness journey by being given the chance to come back and contribute through sharing their personal experiences of recovery at our campuses, volunteering in our communities or continuing with a job they achieved through Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network. Patty Blum, Crestwood Executive Vice President, says, “Supporting and encouraging meaningful roles at our campuses helps to provide our clients with a connection to their values, ethics and higher selves. All of these responsibilities -great or small- give their daily existence purpose, and as such, become their meaningful roles.”

Contributed by:
Cindy Mataraso, Director of Operations
Crestwood Sacramento Home Office