I have often wondered why some people lead such healthy lives (and live to a very old age) while others seem to age early and die prematurely. There are so many factors which influence a person’s wellbeing, including genetics, environmental influences, socialisation, diet and exercise (to name a few).
Interestingly, a study by Dan Buettner (in Larsen Dana, July 2014, Top 5 Places Where People live the longest) revealed that in the top five Blue Zones (long lived pockets) in the world the following commonalities apply:
When providing aged care services either in a residential setting or in the community, it is important that opportunities exist for people to have access to these things. While traditional programming or ‘activities’ have been (at times) innovative and creative, there is a real need to change the focus from ‘keeping people entertained or busy’, to enabling connections and encouraging people to contribute to and be valued in their community.
Every person has something to contribute, skills, knowledge or abilities that can be utilised in their community. Furthermore, every person has a right to be connected to a wide variety of people in their community, to different age groups, from different backgrounds and cultures. Programs need to be developed in the community and around community connection and contribution, large or small. We need to re-think the way we organize ‘activities’, ensuring that these are more than ‘activities’ and have a much greater purpose than merely passing the time. Sure there may be obstacles, some limitations, but only if the barriers are heavily focused on rather than the benefits! Providers of aged care have a responsibility to encourage, enable and facilitate opportunities for older people to help them feel valued and worthwhile.
The Jam Sesh is a programming blue print which will assist organisations to program in their community. Community connections and contributions are central to the Jam Sesh concept, along with ensuring that there are opportunities for each person to be valued in their community. Strategy to Action can assess, consult, plan and implement a Jam Sesh in your community and work towards a “Blue Zone” ideal where people are leading lives which are rich, full and where they feel valued and well. Every one of us deserves to be in a place where we can aim for optimum wellness and quality of life. The Jam Sesh will help to achieve this within communities.
For more information about the Top 5 Places Where People Live the Longest, visit: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-03-29-where-people-live-the-longest/
Or, call Strategy to Action for more information on the Jam Sesh!