Join us as we dive into the importance of engagement in combating social isolation and its impact on our health. Kris Frankel, VP of Engagement and Director of Active Aging at The Arbor Company shares fascinating insights on how staying active keeps our bodies and minds sharp. Plus, discover how our groundbreaking fitness and wellness pilot program is transforming the lives of seniors. Don't miss out on this inspiring discussion!
Hello everybody and welcome in to Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. Thank you so much for being with us. Today, we are discussing engagement.
It is one of my favorite topics. We're gonna talk about what is it exactly, why we have it at all of our Arbor senior living communities, and why it is so important. Kris Frankel, you see her there. She is an excellent resource for this.
She joins me now. Kris, you know, I love this topic, it is a really good one to discuss, not only about what we do with engagement day to day within our Arbor senior living communities, but I love the actual data that we're going to kind of dive into for all the things we're gonna speak about today and all the ways that engagement keeps our bodies and our minds healthy and active. It is so good to see you. You're wonderful in discussing this topic.
How are you?
I'm good, Melissa. It's great to see you.
It is great to see you too. So, I've already given you sort of like propped you up here. So now tell everybody what you do for the Arbor company and a little bit about yourself.
So I am the VP of Engagement and Director of Active Aging for The Arbor Company.
And I've been in the role almost ten years. I can't believe how fast time has flown. So, like Melissa said, like you said, I'm really excited about engagement and the active aging route that we're going with, our residents. It's a really exciting time. We're the we're the department that gets to work with the residents and find out what their goals are, find out what they've always wanted to do, that they haven't been able to do, and then we're able to work with them to help reach those goals and help them live their lives while they're here with us at the Arbor Company.
Yeah. So first and foremost, let's just, you know, get to the nitty gritty of it. Why is engagement so important for seniors?
Well, engagement is so important because as we age sometimes we, don't get out with our friends as often. And we might isolate a little more because we're changing.
And, there's a really good example of it, honestly, if you have Netflix, there's a new special on Netflix that that, focuses on the blue zones of the country and what they're finding a lot of the research that Dan Butner does is they're finding that people that socially isolate and don't to participate with other people decline faster. So our jobs are super important because we find activities and activities of purpose that engage our residents that come out that help to build friendships, help to build relationships, and help to keep people healthier longer because some of the statistics have talked about that ice social isolation can be just as bad as smoking two packs of cigarette today. It's really unhealthy.
And we really try to encourage people to, you know, make new friends. It's harder in later stages of life because you've had your friends, you know, things happen with life. And so, you know, finding people with similar interests and finding new things to try and enjoy is really part of, you know, everything we do here.
Yeah. And you've done a really good job. At Arbor, trying to find the latest and greatest in everything engagement.
And so, one that we really wanna touch on, today and talking about why engagement is important, there is a new, fitness program that you have helped to pilot in some Arbor communities, what makes this particular program different from others?
Well, this is the first time we've actually focused on fitness and wellness as a company.
So in January of this year, we sent out a message to all of our engagement teams asking if there was anyone in the engagement department that had an interest in fitness and wellness or had a, you know, excitement about it.
And so we had some people raise their hand and say that they would to do that. So in January of twenty twenty three, we brought ten people together. I was excited about that. And we went to our, Miami community called Mirabelle, and we did a two day training with, a representative trainer from, senior certification company called AAAI/ISMA.
And she is specifically trained to be a senior fitness trainer. So our community are coordinators had a two day training where they learned all about, you know, you know, parts of the body, how to best train seniors, how to best help them with their goals, how to do exercise correctly. And most importantly, they focus a lot on, activities of daily function, like being able to zip your coat, being able to maneuver curbs, being able to reach for that coffee cup. All of those things that we do every day that we can incorporate exercise into. So after they learned all of these skills, the next day. We put it to the test, and we had each of our coordinators who were then certified go out and teach classes with the residents at the community. And then from there with that experience, they went back to their communities and did a lot of really great things over the past year.
That's great. Yeah. And, I I like being able to incorporate fitness into almost everything that you do, and that sort of makes it easy, you know, because when people have to put time aside, they're like, oh, you know, they may not do it. And so when you're just doing it, your normal day to day doesn't feel like work, so why do you think that this program is so popular, with the people who've, who've tried it? And, and what is, what are some of the early pieces of feedback that you've received?
I think it's so popular because the residents are seeing a difference and they're feeling a difference. And, you know, one of the trends now is people are look for healthy lifestyles. They're looking for exercise. They're looking for the food trends and the dining trends.
And they wanna stay fit and they wanna stay young and they wanna be here for their grandchildren. So some of the things that we've seen, We use what are called resident social profiles, and that's something that our residents complete before they move into a community to kinda give us an idea of who they are. And the majority of those said health and wellness and exercise is one of their top things that they're they're interested in learning about. So we, since we started this program in January, have seen a participation increase up to sixty eight percent.
And, some of the things we've seen, the residents are now sizing up their weights because the weights they started with aren't aren't heavy enough, so they're sizing up their weight. We've seen increased strength. We've seen them become more flexible. We had one resident who increased her reach by ten inches, and partnering with some of our, therapy departments We've seen a decrease in UTIs or urinary tract infections, due to increased hydration and increased exercise. So we've seen a lot of good things. We've also seen a decrease in falls.
Wow. What we did tell you in the beginning, we're gonna bring some data to you. That that's excellent. But a sixty eight percent increase is pretty incredible. And some of the things you've just listed in terms of things that have improved, for the individuals utilizing this is, sort of mind blowing, and I'm getting this information for the first time too. And you know, a couple of times when you were talking, my mouth dropped. So, that's excellent.
So, you know, our viewers kind of span those who are in Arbor communities, who may be at other communities, or who may not even live in a community yet. For maybe those individuals, what can they incorporate in their daily routine just from what you've seen in this particular fitness program that they can receive the same advantages as as our Arbor residents?
Well, I think the first thing is, you know, walk walking is a great thing that you can do for yourself.
You know, just using the left brain versus right brain is really good, brain, and physical exercise. If you always reach for your coffee cup with your right hand, start doing it with your hand and retrain your brain when, you're going to the grocery store, park in the furthest parking spot and walk that distance to the to the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk in place. There are so many great videos now on you tube, you can do, you know, walk off the pounds, or you can pull something up and do a little seated exercise in your apartment. There are so many things you can do. And like I said at the beginning, you know, find a walking club, find a walking group, go to your local senior center and make a friend and do a class together. There's so many things you can do, not even living in a community that are better for your health and well-being.
Yeah. And, I always, stress this anytime we talk about fitness and programs or something specifically for seniors. A lot of times when you find those things within your community, they're either free or pretty close to free.
So, yeah, that it's it's a great great those are great things to really take advantage of, wherever you happen to live.
And they are specifically dedicated to seniors.
And I would say too. Sorry to interrupt you. I would say too, if you have an Arbor community nearby, stop in and join a class. We have lots of green class that's happening. Didn't even think about that.
But, yeah, that is a a great idea. And, you know, we have Arbor communities scattered throughout the country so you may have one near you.
You can head over to our website and check out what may be the closest community to where you live. Great idea. So we, you know, we talked about you, having this great ability to think outside the box. This is another way that you have done that by introducing this fitness program, but what are some of the trends that you've noticed, Chris?
Because I know you really have your fingers on the pulse of what's going on when it comes to engagement for seniors, what are some big things that you're noticing that may be happening now or may be coming down the pike in the next five years?
I would say one of the biggest things we're noticing are like tech, are related to technology.
So, I'm really excited because one of our newer communities still on the fitness track, but we ordered some new fitness equipment for this community, and it is so high-tech working with, artificial intelligence, like literally our residents will be able to wear a wristband and when they walk to their equipment, it will read. It will know who they are and adjust their seat and weights automatically. So when they sit that particular, machine they're on, will know who they are, and it will set their program for them. It'll also recognize that when they're, you know, at their threshold, it'll increase their program so that they will get stronger and better and give us biofeedback so we know that. So that's pretty cool.
Other things, you know, around technology, you know, the use of Alexa, if someone is lonely, if you have an Alexa in your apartment, it's something that you can ask questions to, and it will respond to those wearables. If you're out on a walking club and you wanna, you know, track your steps, that's really popular right now. Making sure that you're walking those steps that you've set your goals for. Those are a lot of things.
Those smart home options where when you walk in, the lights turn on, you know, computers and artificial intelligence is huge. So I think those are the trends, you know, down the pike, what people are really looking for.
Yeah. I'm liking that AI personal trainer is almost what it sounds like - that's incredible. I I mean, just, you know, it blows your mind to think of the technology that's out there, and that's that's coming. And the it it blows my mind even more that, you know, we may be seeing those in Arbor Community very, very soon. You know, it's it's exciting.
So yeah. Kris, you you you do such great work. Keep it up. We know you will.
You got your, like, a you got your fingers on the pulse and on the heartbeat of of all things engagement when it comes to our seniors and we can't thank you enough. Thank you for being with us. Thank you.
Thank you.My pleasure.
Well, if if you enjoyed watching this video with Kris, you feel like you learned something, please head on over to our website. It's www.SeniorLivingLive.com. We've got videos just like this one all about senior living.
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