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Wellness Report: St. Paul Adult Ministry for Seniors 2022

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

In October, a gutsy group of aging adults at St. Paul UMC began the wellness program Learning HOW to Age®. We’ve finished up for the year, but I am looking forward to a reunion in 2023.



How best to describe this class was the topic of our last discussion. Each participant gave a recorded testimonial about the benefits and challenges of the class. Their testimonials are on the website now, just choose “testimonials“ from the menu. Expressive Avenues:Wellness uses this holistic program to develop skills and establish a practice that is accessible and applicable to everyone. Participants begin with a baseline assessment and end with an assessment of the same exercise. The results are extremely positive.


Having a growth mindset is critical for retirees, but that attitude may not come naturally regardless of age. In fact, when fourth graders were given the option of repeating a puzzle they had just completed again or trying a different, more challenging puzzle, half chose the safe, known path that the familiar puzzle provided. Dr. Carol Dweck first coined the term 'growth mindset' when she published her theory of human learning and potential. Learning HOW to Age® offers a challenging path and helps develop a growth mindset. A small group with a ratio of 10/1 encourages a "team" atmosphere. It is high risk and high reward.



Reintroducing yourself TO yourself is an important step at each stage of development. One participant commented that she'd discovered things about herself she never realized were present. I reminded her that that was an exciting observation. It takes courage for anyone at any age to accept that discovery as an opportunity for growth. But many older adults lack the courage or motivation to discover who they are now and what they can accomplish now.


The small number in the group per class encourages camaraderie. A shared goal infuses the group with a spirit of teamwork and allows for time and space for discovery. That is the essence of Learning HOW to Age® at any age. Stay curious. Challenge long held beliefs. Benefit from earned wisdom. In between the time it takes for a thought to translate to action there is opportunity, potential, choice. The natural pause that occurs between thought and action is always there, but most of the first half of our lives is spent hurried, with no time to explore the pause. As we enter this second half of life, we find the rhythm of our lives slows, possibly our ability to process incoming information slows, and we can choose to see the opportunity that provides and take advantage.


Among the exercises in Learning HOW to Age® is one called Ball Toss. Participants toss and catch a 12 to 14 inch plastic ball. The exercise is silent. The goal is to continuously toss and catch the ball without dropping. A variable is introduced. The length of time it takes participants to successfully incorporate the variable into their goal is an indication of their ability to shift concentration as needed, or mental flexibility.



This chart depicts the averages of the class as a whole. From 10/4/22-11/1/22 an increase of 199.93% in mental flexibility occurred.

The complete report and methodology can be downloaded.

WELLNESS REPORTS MF,PP,KA 2022 1_5_23
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.75MB








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