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Reading, PA 19605

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“Wellness” Is a Deep Subject: What Is It?

Couple-Enjoying-Meadowreduced"Wellness" may be a slightly misunderstood word, but it is no doubt a major concern for older Berks County residents. It is a relatively new word, and is generally equated with the concept of physical health. However, the meaning goes far beyond that, encompassing physical, spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, and vocational elements. So, as we age, we may have physical or environmental conditions that limit our activities, but that does not necessarily limit our wellness in other areas. Berks County retirees need not resign themselves to a languishing life.

Wellness, according to the International Council on Active Aging, "is derived from our ability to understand, accept and act upon our capacity to lead a purpose-filled and engaged life. In doing so, we can embrace our potential . . . to pursue and optimize life's possibilities." In other words, it's going for the gusto in whatever area of life you encounter. Again from the ICAA: "Wellness becomes a framework that is valuable for serving the wants and needs of a person engaged in life." In simpler terms, it's achieving satisfaction, accepting limitations while spreading your wings. At Sacred Heart Villa in Reading, residents have the option to participate in numerous activities, including games, events, mass, and other activities. Residents also enjoy themselves in our library, beauty salon, lounges, social hall, and outdoor gardens.

Let's take a look at the elements of wellness. In many ways, these elements overlap and combine for a rich life.

Physical This is the "most famous" element of wellness, one that we have some control over. Lifestyle choices that can maintain or improve health and functional ability include engaging in physical activity, choosing healthy foods with adequate nutrition, getting adequate sleep, managing stress, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking, making appointments for check-ups, and following medical recommendations.

Emotional Feelings can drive us to action and inaction, and acknowledging and directing your feelings helps create balance in life. Responding thoughtfully and not emotionally creates a healthier atmosphere inside and out.

Intellectual Creativity and the desire to learn are integral to our makeup, so it helps to find outlets that keep your mind alert and interested. There are many ways to stay intellectually active, including taking college courses, journaling, painting, and challenging oneself with games and puzzles.

Professional Work that uses a person's skills while providing personal satisfaction is valuable for society as well as the individual. Older adults contribute as experienced professionals, caregivers, mentors, teachers, and volunteers.

Social interactions with family, friends, neighbors, and peer groups valuable for maintaining health. Joining clubs, traveling, visiting friends and family, and intergenerational interplay contribute to everyone involved. What a way to pass on what the years have taught you!

Spiritual Living with meaning and purpose in life brings satisfaction and perspective. Strong, positive values give stability to life.

Environmental The environment in which you live, both inside and outside, plays a major role in your satisfaction. Do what you can to get an occasional change of scenery or help improve your surroundings for yourself and others if possible.

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.

The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café, and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety, and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or a loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit us at