A Day in the Life of Senior Living Resident Skip Sahlin

From fitness classes to movie nights, there’s never a dull moment at Mercy Retirement & Care Center.

Skip Sahlin starts his day just the way he likes—with a warm breakfast, a brief Mass, some light exercise and a hands-on art class where he can release some of his creative energy.

Sahlin, a former baker, moved to Mercy Retirement & Care Center in Oakland three years ago after he decided he could no longer live alone. “I find the lifestyle here very conducive to my way of life,” he says. “Some people might have apprehensions coming from their home and living with other people, but you make friends so quickly, especially in the dining room.”

Enjoying Senior Fitness Classes and Activities

Erin Partridge, MA, ATR, Art Therapist/Life Enrichment Coordinator, teaches a variety of exercise and art classes, which Sahlin particularly looks forward to. He appreciates the wide range of options available from chair yoga and Silver Sneakers fitness classes to Partridge’s brain fitness, jewelry making and mixed media art classes.

“My whole day is occupied,” he says. “I’m never, never bored. It’s so lovely.”

Seniors Making Friends

During lunch Sahlin spends his time chatting and getting to know new residents. Recently, he talked with a tablemate who worked as a nurse during World War II. He has also formed bonds with the employees, including a Mercy chef who went back to school to learn more about healthy meal preparation for seniors.

Like all residents, Sahlin can take advantage of on-site hair and nail appointments as well as laundry and shuttle services, which can be used for medical appointments, lunch outings, grocery trips, and even movie showings. In the late afternoon Sahlin has his choice of events, from indoor golf and trivia games to occasional courtyard socials and happy hours.

Giving Residents a Voice

He also has the chance to participate in meetings and forums. These sessions give residents and department heads the opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns and discuss upcoming changes.

“If residents have concerns or things they want to bring up or see happen, there are a lot of times during the month where residents are able to voice their opinions and advocate for change and speak up for things,” says Partridge.

“I Never Feel Isolated”

Sahlin usually lingers after the post-dinner movie or documentary screening to chat and mingle before retiring to his room to read before bed.

“I never feel isolated,” he says. “Sometimes I’m in my room alone, and I feel like I want to get out and talk to people, so I migrate down to our lounge and have a cup of coffee and talk to people I didn’t know before. You can bounce around and get to know so many people.”

While it may just feel like pleasant conversations throughout his day, Sahlin’s sense of belonging and community are extremely important. Like the ability to engage in meaningful morning rituals, these human connections are essential to his social wellness and holistic health

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