Pin on Pinterest
Betty Dobbie and Noel Pittman.jpg Presbyterian Village North residents Betty Dobbie and Noel Pittman enjoy a Laughter Yoga class during Wellness University.

The residents and staff at Presbyterian Village North believe that learning never ends.  In an effort to continuously find ways to improve their minds and bodies, wellness director Shannon Radford and independent living life enrichment manager Leigh-Ann Loveland, created Wellness University, a three- month program with 30 classes in a college course format. This is the senior living community’s second year to participate in this program designed to help residents learn more about the five aspects of wellness: intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and vocational. Residents choose their courses, get grades and even graduate from Wellness University.

“We wanted to find a very unique way to help our residents work on whichever aspect of wellness they need the most of in their lives,” said Leigh-Ann Loveland, life enrichment manager for Presbyterian Village North. “We have color-coded our activities calendar with a different color for each of the dimensions of wellness to make it easy for our residents. If they need to concentrate on being more physical, then they look for all of the items in green on the calendar, or if they need to be more social they look for items in blue. By offering multiple courses for each of the five dimensions, we are making sure we provide every opportunity for residents to improve various parts of their lives.”  

The physical aspect of wellness will be covered in classes like Laughter Yoga and Circuit Training with special focuses on balance, coordination, endurance and strength. Laughter Yoga has recently risen in popularity after appearing on “The Dr. Oz Show.”  Laughter releases endorphins which reduce stress and enhance a joyful feeling. To appeal to the spiritual side of wellness, the community will offer classes in fasting and silence and will have other opportunities to learn about living consistently within one’s values and beliefs. Some of the most anticipated sessions will cover the social aspect of wellness in classes about Pinterest or special “fieldtrips” to places like Top Golf. Residents will explore the vocational dimension of wellness in classes like cake and cookie decorating or mosaics.

The residents also participated in engaging educational courses on memory and cognition that taught them fun ways to keep their brains young and active during Brain Training Camp the last week in March. This camp provided the intellectual aspect of wellness and was led by licensed speech-language pathologists, who taught how the brain works during daily tasks. This five-day camp emphasized a different brain skill every day, and taught the best ways to exercise one’s mind. The week included courses on logic and reasoning, concentration, a day of word games, and  ended with ways to improve mental speed. 

“Wellness University encourages our residents to be part of our active and ever-evolving community,” said Ron Kelly, executive director at Presbyterian Village North. “We have a celebration lunch at the end of the ‘semester’ for any residents who participate in 15 or more classes. We even crown a Valedictorian and Salutatorian at the ceremony. This is a great way to encourage learning and promote active aging among our residents.”