July’s Focus On Wellness and Alternative Healing

Piper Shores unveiled a new program this month that’s piquing a lot of curiosity on campus. The entire month of July has been devoted to Health & Wellness, and some of the demonstrations planned for July include Tai Chi, yoga, Reiki, and reflexology.

Kicking off the series this week was a fascinating demonstration of alternative healing, which included a segment on aromatherapy and another on The Alexander Technique. Piper Shores’ residents who attended were treated to an Alexander Technique evaluation and treatments of aromatherapy by guest speakers who also offered a short lecture about their field of healing followed by an in-depth discussion.

  • Aromatherapy uses aromatic oils to enhance one’s cognitive, psychological and physical wellbeing.
  • The Alexander Technique is a way of learning to move mindfully through life by shining a light on inefficient habits of movement and patterns that accumulate tension in the body and interfere with our innate ability to move easily.

Both demonstrations were hands-on and are part of a summer focus on health and wellness that will unfold over the next several weeks.

“Last week, we invited two specialist to lead these wonderful alternative healing demonstrations,” said Tara Cloutier, Life Enrichment Manager at Piper Shores. “The series continues throughout the month and will include everything from training for a 5K walk, to yoga to reflexology,” she added.

A growing interest in alternative modalities

Piper Shores is welcoming a new generation of residents who are taking a great interest in the enrichment activities that are offered, explained Cloutier. “All of Piper Shores residents are interested in wellness, but this younger set is especially eager to try new things and explore alternative facets of wellness,” she said. Residents at Piper Shores range in age from 62 to 105, and many of them are increasingly open to alternative therapies, integrative wellness, and unconventional modalities.

In order to maximize the engagement of its residents, the enrichment calendar at Piper Shores is developed collaboratively with staff and residents. A committee of 25 residents is divided into subcommittees, which focus on a variety of activities from field trips to lectures, to volunteering opportunities, to arts and entertainment.

‘The baby boomer generation in particular is seeking different avenues from which they can learn,” said Cloutier. This collaborative approach allows them to have a direct impact on exploring new programming.

The month-long focus on wellness is a new experiment for Piper Shores and was inspired in part by Wellness Director Mary DeSalle, who took on her new role last year at Piper Shores and is deeply committed to increasing opportunities for residents to engage in fitness and healthy activities. “We wanted to see what would happen if we devoted a month-long focus to wellness,” said Cloutier, adding that residents seem to respond positively when the administration shakes things up a bit and tries new ideas.

Training for a 5K Walk!

Included in the month-long wellness series is a program where residents can train with University of New England fitness instructors for a 5K (3.1 mile) Walk. Trainers will provide guidance for residents to get out on the magnificent trails and pathways around Piper Shores and help them feel just how healthy and important it is to get up and walk around each day. All the while, they will be training for a 5K walk, which will take place in September and is a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Disease.

“We are really excited to have these amazing UNE instructors here with us,” said Cloutier. “They can show residents how to train for an event like a 5K walk and what they can do on their own time – taking them out of the classroom and figuring out how they can prepare on their own.” This is an addition to the wellness exercise schedule.

A Grand Vision for Walking Across America

Eventually, the “Couch to 5K” may evolve into a grand vision, where residents record the mileage of their daily walks, and their collective progress is visually tracked on a map of the United States. “We were thinking it might be fun to have our residents walk all 50 states,” said Cloutier. “We could pick one state every month and make it interactive.”

Get Involved!

Programs in Tai Chi, yoga, Reiki, reflexology and cooking will continue throughout the month of July. Many of them are one-hour in length. For a detailed calendar, please visit the activity sign up area.