Wellness Challenge 2019 – A healthy solution for countless resolutions.

Wellness Challenge 2019 – A healthy solution for countless resolutions.


This year, Audrey Pierce, a resident at The Landing at Behrman Place in New Orleans, plans to work out more often to help her right leg get better.

At Country Club Village in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Life Enrichment Director (LED) Cindy Smith reports that Carol Wilkins plans to improve her mobility by taking the stairs three times a week, Wilma Kuenzel is taking steps (literally) to be able to walk a mile by herself, Nancy Jordan will be eating healthier, and Sue Tucker intends to drink more water.

At The Verandah in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Gaye Viccellio promises to start exercising, Helen (Pug) Derbonne is going to do Sit & Fit every day, and Elaine Howerton says she’ll try not to eat so much ice cream.

And at Waterford Terrace in La Mesa, California, Doris Tillett says, “I want to be able to just keep going the way I am and do my best to live my life."

From California to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, Sunshine Retirement residents have made dozens of different resolutions for the new year. Yet they all have one goal in common: to improve their level of wellness. And once again, Sunshine’s Wellness Director Lauren Dubay has a plan to help them.

“Every year, Sunshine’s 21-Day Wellness Challenge aims to inspire our residents to create goals to help them achieve a better quality of life,” says Dubay. “Whether they’re related to physical fitness, diet, relationships, greener living or whatever, those goals may be different for every resident and we certainly don’t try to dictate them. We simply provide the tools and the encouragement to make it easier for them to achieve.”

Studies show that it takes three weeks to form a new habit. With that in mind, this month’s Wellness Challenge gives all Sunshine residents who want to make a real change in their lives a clear 21-day support program. The program involves just three simple steps:

  1. Set a Goal – At the beginning of the Challenge, a workshop was provided to help residents pick something worthwhile as well as practical.
  2. Find a Friend – Everything is more fun with a friend to offer encouragement.
  3. Spread Cheer – Throughout the challenge, residents are expected to post their accomplishments (big or small) on a Goal Setting Worksheet or an accomplishment board. Then fellow residents can cheer them on by placing special “Thumbs-Up” stickers on it.

According to Dubay, some communities, like The Landing, do group fitness goals, where they have introduced a weekly 20-Minute Walking Club Challenge. For residents with individual goals, our dedicated LEDs help assist every step of the way.
“In the spirit of the new year, the 21-Day Wellness Challenge empowers our LEDs to try new things that can be added to the schedule throughout the year,” says Dubay. “Especially after the high stress of the holidays and the often chaotic schedules that came from those special events, January is a great time for our residents to refocus.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the community provides extra incentives like prizes and recognition for people who participate in the group challenges and do at least one healthy thing for themselves every day. At many communities, the resident who accumulates the most points at the end of the 21 days will earn a special gift for being crowned “Wellness Champion.” But most residents find that the rewards of feeling better both physically and mentally are more than worth the effort to continue the Challenge, and they start looking for other ways to improve themselves.

“One of the added benefits of the 21-Day Challenge is that it motivates our residents to be more involved in all of our activity programs,” claims Dubay. “Throughout the month, we see an increase in participation across the board, not just in our daily fitness classes. And this invigorated spirit continues well after the Challenge is over!”

If that’s the case, it should be easy for John Vignes, a resident of The Landing at Behrman Place, to fulfill his New Year’s resolution, which is simply, “to be friendlier.”

This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, January, 2019.

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