Holistic wellness focuses on many aspects of health — including physical, environmental, emotional, social and spiritual. At AlmaVia of Camarillo, a variety of diverse programming supports the spiritual component.
“In caring for the whole person, you must care for the health of the spirit as much as the body,” noted Jerry Cooper, Spiritual Care Director for AlmaVia of Camarillo. Research has shown the importance of the connection between the different components of holistic wellness, he said, adding that Elder Care Alliance is one of few organizations to include regular, deep spiritual experiences as an integral part of its mission.
The Significance of Spiritual Life
The importance of spirituality in overall wellness begins with an understanding of the whole person, Jerry said.
“A person’s spiritual life is often their source of hope and strength, meaning and purpose,” he said. “Without these things, quality of life — or true wellness — is greatly diminished.”
He added that spirituality includes a deep understanding of our relationships with other people, including the transformative power of forgiveness.
A Wide Variety of Programming
AlmaVia of Camarillo offers a range of programming — including non-denominational and non-religious options — to support the spiritual aspect of holistic wellness.
Residents may choose to participate in sing-alongs that include both secular and spiritual music, along with both Protestant and Catholic communion each week. Non-denominational Bible studies are held for residents of both Assisted Living and Memory Care. Residents of Assisted Living also can attend a weekly prayer meeting providing the opportunity to pray for each other as well as the world and including a 15-minute guided meditation.
Jerry teaches a class called “Food for Mind and Spirit” that covers an array of topics, from science to history, culture, personal development and art, with connections of all topics to spirituality.
With both religious and non-religious options available, Jerry said, individuals of any faith or no faith can enjoy “a comfortable place to find peace and growth.”
Spiritual Care: The Personal Dimension
In many cases, spiritual care moves beyond scheduled programming, Jerry noted.
“It may come in the form of a resident stopping at my office because they just heard news that they are either excited or concerned about and we can talk and pray together for a few minutes,” he said. “It may be a resident’s family member who lost their loved one and who needs some grief counseling and support.”
The key component? “Individual visits with residents, listening to their stories, valuing them, and offering them hope.”