At The Overlook, wellness is not a buzzword; it’s a lifestyle. We continuously look for new ways to make wellness as accessible and enjoyable as possible for the residents. Throughout the history of our community, the residents have inspired our team with their exciting and active lifestyles. As we have combined the efforts and enthusiasm of The Overlook team with the diverse experiences and interests of the residents, our community has grown to be a more exciting, engaging place where wellness and fun are one and the same. In this spirit of resident engagement and wellness-focused living, The Overlook rolled out a new program in January 2020 called “Grow52,” which is short for “Gathering Residents for Overall Wellness 52 Weeks a Year.”
And the results have been exciting.
What is Grow52?
Steph Beilman, Director of Life Enrichment at The Overlook, describes Grow52. “Grow52 was designed in the hopes of creating programming, activities and educational materials around all of the dimensions of wellness. That includes intellectual, environmental, occupational, physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellness.”
The preparation of the Grow52 initiative happened over the course of about a year. “What I did,” Steph shared, “was take a look at the current program that we currently have been running at The Overlook and take a kind of deep dive in terms of what is missing. We have offered programs like movies, historians and performers, but I wanted to elevate the opportunities that we have here for residents. I wanted to take a look from a greater perspective of those dimensions of wellness and see what we can do better and how we can push to create a more well-balanced lifestyle.”
The program focuses on the dimensions of wellness in two primary ways: (1) through events and (2) through educational materials.
Events and education
Steph explained, “Each month gets one of the dimensions of wellness as a highlight. For example, January was intellectual wellness month. So, one of the events we did was learn the basics of Spanish. We haven’t really had any events or classes like this before at The Overlook.”
These events have been received quite well by the residents. Sue Siopes, a resident of 4 years, said, “I had taken Spanish many years ago in college. So, it was so nice to have the program come up. I was excited to be a part of it. And they made it fun! We had a game and there some prizes involved. So, people were really getting into it and enjoying themselves. I know I did.”
Each topic can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. So, as The Overlook cycles through the different dimensions of wellness, each event will bring something new to the campus.
The monthly event is also supplemented by weekly educational blogs that are distributed in a number of ways. You can pick them up at the Grow52 common area on campus, you can have them delivered straight to your apartment or you can download them online through the resident portal. These educational pieces will correspond to that month’s highlighted wellness dimension. In January, for instance, where the focus was intellectual wellness, there was a blog focusing on the positive effects of music on the mind. The blog detailed why music is a source of intellectual wellness, and it also listed the best streaming services for music as well as relevant and helpful resources.
Other months shift their focus to new dimensions of wellness. The focus for March was occupational wellness. “We have had a lot of teachers or people who have volunteered in different ways,” Steph shared. “So, in March we did two different events, both revolving around care packages. For one event, we made care packages for the local police, fire departments and EMTs; for another event, we made care packages that we gave to the local school. So, we are giving the residents opportunities to create that meaningful appreciation for the community and give back to those who are local.”
Sue and her friends participated in this event as well. “The care packages were good on a couple of levels,” she shared. “They got all of us together, and we had a good time doing them. And I think we felt a sense of being able to show our appreciation, and I think that’s a good thing too. And I think that, of course, makes you feel good inside.”
While Steph and The Overlook team have put a lot of work into the Grow52 initiative, the goal is to provide opportunities for the residents to take a more active role.
“My role,” Steph explained, “was to create the concept and the logistical pieces of Grow52. I then kicked off the program with what I think is most helpful. But from there, it snowballs in terms of the residents coming up with ideas on their own. For example, when we made the care packages, the next day one of the residents called me and said, ‘It would be an awesome idea if we could do backpacks for the local schools for the September school year.’”
With time, this process of teaming up with the residents will continue to expand. “Everything we do is really collaborative,” Steph shared excitedly. “If a resident has an idea of something that would be great for the program, whether it is an event or an article, they will send it to me and we will figure out a way to implement it.”
Ultimately, this program combines the past experiences and interests of the residents with new experiences that are unique to life at The Overlook. The residents and the staff support each other in creating a community that is vibrant, balanced and wellness focused. And, although COVID-19 has meant a number of events are postponed, the excitement for the program is still quite alive in the community! “I can’t wait for us to be able to get back to the group activities!” Sue shared. “I think people are really looking forward to being able to do something like that again. And I personally will enjoy furthering my Spanish skills.” If you’re interested in learning more about The Overlook, call 866-753-5429 or click here to request a free brochure.