April 3, 2015

Regina Health Center continues to expand activities to keep residents engaged and active

The following article appears in the most recent issue of The Heart of Regina Health Center newsletter. Read the complete newsletter for additional news, upcoming events, stories of how Regina Health Center provides excellence in health care and supportive services, and more.

Always Active: Music, Art and Yoga Add to the Mix of Activities Available for Residents

It’s not uncommon for Regina Health Center residents to be taken back in time by polka king Frankie Yankovic or jazzman Jimmy Dorsey. Or to bring out their inner Vincent van Gogh. Or to be in meditative yoga poses.

Providing a wide range of activities at Regina Health Center (RHC) is a key component of promoting holistic health and positively impacting quality of life—and music, art and senior yoga are just some of those activities.

Yoga is the newest activity for residents and has been a big hit, with an average of 18 to 20 residents participating every other Wednesday. Yoga at RHC has been modified to encourage residents to sit rather than stand or lie on a floor mat, and is designed to increase movement and energy, reduce anxiety through relaxation, deep breathing and meditation, and manage or reduce pain. After a yoga session, one resident said, “I woke up this morning in so much pain. I didn’t know how I would make it through the day, but now I feel so much better.”

Yoga instructor Lisa Wittman said yoga for older adults has additional benefits and she is encouraged by the results. “The residents always do their best and they try everything. We talk each time about stopping if it hurts and breathing if it’s uncomfortable. Socialization and laughter are key elements to a sense of well-being and belonging, and there are plenty of both at the yoga sessions. This class is an absolute joy and I see progress.”

Music enrichment is offered once a week through Music Therapist Ben Turner, who works with up to 25 assisted living or nursing home residents during one 45-minute session and up to 10 special care unit residents in another 45-minute session. Ben uses familiar music, including religious hymns, to encourage residents to interact and reminisce about what the music means to them. In one session, participants sang “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean.” Several residents began talking about a time that they visited the ocean or went overseas to Ireland and Hawaii.

“It is always fulfilling to hear the residents sing together, watch them participate in movement and instrument playing, to hear their laughter, and the many ways that they encourage each other,” said Ben. “Residents in the special care unit look forward to the visits and often say, ‘We’ve been waiting for you.’ They laugh and show joy in interacting with one another.”

Cleveland State University music therapy students provide additional music enrichment activities. This semester, one student works with five residents weekly in the special care unit. Last semester, three students worked with assisted living residents. The students apply music appreciation, encourage residents to sing and play instruments, and promote socialization.

Volunteer Art Therapist Sister Ellen Themes, OSU, visits twice a week to provide art appreciation and opportunities for residents to create their own art through sketching, painting, sculpting or any medium they choose. Much of the artwork residents create is entered in the LeadingAge Ohio Art and Writing Show, and has won numerous ribbons.

“There is always something special happening in the activity department, providing so many beneficial ways for residents to stay active,” said Chris Therens, director of activities. “All of our activities are designed to promote human dignity and improve the quality of life.”

Regina Health Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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