Wellbeing program to stay happy and healthy

Elissa Reeve (right)

Residents at Bellarine Springs retirement village are benefitting from an innovative ‘Healthy Ageing’ program that aims to keep their minds and bodies active. According to the program manager, Elissa Reeve, village residents are embracing the opportunity to participate in a range of fun and interesting workshops and activities, designed to improve social, mental, physical and nutritional health.

“As we get older, keeping our minds and bodies active is a real key to enjoying a happy and healthy life,” Elissa says.

“Our program is designed to work in tandem with the many social and recreational options already on offer at the village, to ensure our residents have easy access to holistic learning opportunities and activities that address every aspect of their wellbeing.

“And the response from residents has been fantastic!” Some of the popular and successful activities run as part of the program so far have included technology workshops, as well as classes in mindfulness and meditation. “A healthy body doesn’t just mean exercise and nutrition, so the program centres on a model called the ‘Wheel of Wellbeing’, which covers all the factors that can contribute to health and happiness as we get older, including body, mind, spirit, people, place and planet,” Elissa explains.

“For example, to address the ‘Mind’ element of the model, we partnered with an Australian Government program called ‘BeConnected’, which is aimed at increasing the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians when using digital technology,” Elissa says.

Elissa says the 80 or so village residents who attended learnt an array of new skills, including how to use Apple’s digital personal assistant ‘Siri’ to dictate text instead of typing emails and messages. “They also found out how to download apps, remove annoying ads from news websites, and use Google Earth to ‘virtually’ walk around neighbourhoods anywhere in the world,” Elissa says.

Elissa says that she is currently planning a range of further activities at the village as part of the Healthy Ageing program, including workshops on climate change, dementia prevention and brain health, as well as exploring opportunities for residents to learn new skills ranging from learning a new language and playing ukulele, to self-defence for seniors. “It is really exciting and satisfying to be part of a program that is helping our wonderful residents live happier and healthier lives,” she says.