When it comes to looking for a senior living community for your loved one, it is essential to keep in mind the importance of physical, mental and social activities and programs that the community offers to their residents. It has been proven that staying physically active as you age can improve your overall quality of life. Active seniors are not only generally in better overall physical health, but mental and emotional health too.
Someone who knows all about physical, mental and social importance for seniors is Beverly Sanborn. Beverly is the Vice President of Program Development for Belmont Village Senior Living. She plays the program leader role in developing all of Belmont’s new activity protocols and all of the training for staff.
“I have been with Belmont Village for 13 years and in this industry for about 30 years,” Beverly said in a recent interview. “I just stumbled into this senior living business and decided to do it because I became fascinated with it.”
Belmont Village Senior Living offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Short Stays for seniors. Beverly said they also offer a wide variety of choices, amenities, activities and evidence-based programs, backed by research and supported by a strong care team.
Beverly said she loves working in this field because she likes working with people who have Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues. “I like to tune into how they cope and what their thought processes are. Those with memory loss need some outside support and if they have the right kind of support, then they can still have a really good life.”
She said she also loves to work with the families at Belmont Village because it can be very difficult for family members when their loved one has Alzheimer’s. “Most of our families are so noble and it’s very touching to me – they need support too. But my absolute favorite part of my job is working with the staff and teaching them how to work with people who have Alzheimer’s to help give them a rich and fulfilling life. That’s the best thing we can do for residents and their families.”
Belmont Village has 26 locations throughout the U.S. and in Mexico City. Their newest location opened in California in July and is affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley. Programs and services are designed with retired faculty and staff of the university in mind.
“All of our buildings are located in areas that have major research facilities, particularly those in Texas, California and Chicago,” Beverly said. “They are all close to major universities and large hospitals that do research.”
Belmont Village specializes in a lifestyle program called Whole Brain Fitness.
“We’ve developed a Whole Brain Fitness lifestyle for our residents, to encourage successful aging,” Beverly said. “That means nurturing and engaging mind, body and spirit each day, in seven essential elements that include the right nutrition and physical exercise, mental workouts and lifelong learning, reduced stress, a strong social network and a sense of purpose. Each element of the lifestyle is important and supports the others, but what makes it unique is our emphasis on mental fitness in all of our programs for every phase.”
At Belmont Village, the Mind Body Awareness Club is a self-directed, research-based program for more active residents, with brain and body boosting activities noted on daily calendars so residents can make smart choices. The Circle of Friends program is a structured, seven-day-a-week program for mild cognitive impairment and early-stage memory loss. The activities and exercises are done in small, ability-centered groups that are led by a dedicated, specially trained team. The Person-Centered Living for Alzheimer’s Care program has daily wellness checks, assistance with activities of daily living and is personalized based on individual strengths.
“We keep people engaged in life itself so that their life is full and meaningful,” Beverly said. “We take care of people and don’t give up. One of our specialties is to provide them with all of the assistance that they need to help them be as independent and successful as possible.”
Beverly said that Belmont Village is famous for their exercise programs because they were the first assisted living community to have a gym and physical therapists. “Physical activity is extremely important at Belmont Village. We also have a very extensive menu with many brain and heart healthy type foods that are very tasty.”
Having a social life is also very important to the staff at Belmont Village because it helps not only your brain, but your heart and overall health, according to Beverly. “Our programs for enhancing memory care are outstanding because they keep their minds agile, quick and alert. Our Circle of Friends program has won many awards and we always encourage participation in every activity because it’s so important.”
When it comes to choosing an appropriate senior living community for your loved one, Beverly said that people need to look for the kind of quality and hospitality that is important in a senior community. She said to look for the high-quality commitment that comes from the owners, managers and all of the staff at the community to make sure their residents live healthy, happy, fulfilling and enriched lives. You want to look for a community that expresses their devotion to the seniors.
“I recommend that people visit communities at meal time, especially if your loved one has a type of memory loss,” Beverly said. “When you visit at meal time, watch for how the meals are served and how the seniors are treated. When you visit for a tour, come unexpectedly so you can see how the community truly is and how you are greeted and treated. You want to find a place where your loved one will feel like it’s home because the social atmosphere is the most important aspect when it comes to finding an appropriate senior living community for your loved one.”