Total wellness involves more than just physical health. A state of well-being involves multiple factors that take into account our lifestyle and interaction with the environment that surrounds us. Achieving total wellness is an ongoing process that enables us to achieve our full potential and highest quality of life.
At Westminster at Lake Ridge, we promote the Six Dimensions of Wellness. This holistic model, developed by Dr. Bill Hettler, a cofounder of the National Wellness Institute, includes Spiritual, Social, Emotional, Vocational, Intellectual and Physical Wellness. In this series of posts, we’re exploring each of those dimensions and how they are supported and practiced at the retirement community.
The social dimension of wellness speaks not just to our families and friendships, but also to our interdependence with other people in our communities. A socially well person has positive interactions with other people and enjoys being with them. He or she establishes and maintains a positive, supportive network of family and friends, and also builds relationships that have a positive impact on the community and the world.
Science has shown that social interaction is a crucial dimension of wellness. Researchers have learned that loneliness and social isolation are associated with declining mobility, difficulty in performing routine daily activities and greater susceptibility to illness.
According to the National Wellness Institute, people who have a strong social network show improved markers of health compared with those who are isolated. They have lower levels of cholesterol and higher levels of antibodies that support a strong immune system. In addition, they are better able to manage stress and report better moods and greater self-esteem.
Westminster at Lake Ridge recognizes the significance of an active, engaged lifestyle and provides abundant opportunities for social contacts. The retirement community’s life enrichment calendar is packed with activities that not only satisfy members’ thirst for knowledge and passion for intellectual and artistic pursuits, but also involve social interaction.
Readers share their insights at the Book Club. Writers gather to share their work with the Writers Group. Bridge, Mah Jongg, bingo, dominos and Scrabble players get together to play on a regular basis. Residents engage in lively conversations in programs such as the Kaffee Klatch Discussion Group, Current Events Forum, Men’s Coffee and Bible study and discussion groups. Resident-led activities such as the Art Group and Joy of Coloring tap into creativity. A variety of classes that focus on exercising the body and brain also encourage interaction with others. All of these activities, plus group expeditions to performances and cultural sites in the DC area, enable residents to form social bonds and meet new friends.
The social wellness dimension also recognizes the health benefits of volunteering. Many of the residents at Westminster at Lake Ridge are involved in volunteer activities. Within the community, they introduce others to their passions and expertise by leading classes and discussion groups, and provide companionship and services to their fellow members. Nearly everyone serves on one of the many committees that play crucial roles in the management and improvement of the community. Improvement projects like the Encore Shop not only benefit the community but also allow folks to socialize while they work. Many residents also contribute their time and skills to a variety of organizations in the greater community.
Members gather to share a meal, snack or cup of coffee in venues that include the main dining room and the Clipper Café. Spaces throughout the community, ranging from the lobby to informal nooks, encourage folks to sit down for a chat with a friend, family member or neighbor.
The members of Westminster at Lake Ridge come from varied and interesting backgrounds and have much to share with each other. Your next-door neighbor might be a retired executive, a world traveler or an accomplished artist, and engaging with the people you meet helps to expand your own world.
If you would like to learn more about Westminster at Lake Ridge, please attend one of our presentations or Lunch & Discover events, or call 703-496-4708.