Aug 28
Fostering Healthy and Vibrant Retirement Communities: Era Living’s Thrive Program 1

Fostering Healthy and Vibrant Retirement Communities: Era Living’s Thrive Program

Cliff Warner, Director of Thrive at Era Living recently published an article in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing about how our proprietary Thrive program is fostering a healthy community and high quality of life at our retirement communities. Not only is this an honor to be published in the JGN, but it’s a testament to the power of Thrive.

What is Thrive?

Thrive is a comprehensive wellness program pioneered at Era Living designed to promote healthy aging. It is evidence-informed and based on research about activities that have been shown to produce optimal results for healthy aging.  Developed in collaboration with the University of Washington Schools of Nursing and Social Work, it aims to unify focus on the mind, body, and spirit.

Real residents, real success stories

In his article, Cliff highlights several examples of how Thrive encourages physical activity, creates new patterns of behavior, provides social support, creates opportunity for engagement and learning, and creates meaning together.

For example. Thrive offers intergenerational programming between residents and students. One community collaborated with a local high school to host a conversational forum. A group of residents and students met several weeks in advance to create the groundwork for the format and topics. At the event, a panel comprising 10 honor students and 10 residents addressed topics such as academic expectations—then and now, commitment in relationships, evolving norms and values related to dating, sexual identity, and careers. The student population was diverse in gender, sexual identity, ethnicity, family income, and life experience. During the conversation, one student shared he was still building up his courage to ask someone out on a date. A panel member quickly responded, “I wish you had been my first date.” The audience cheered. Following the forum, students and residents shared dinner and continued the dialogue. Residents proclaimed the event was “our best program ever.”

Another example is that in four of our retirement communities, groups of residents have become involved in a regional effort called Mats for the Homeless. These mats are created entirely from used plastic bags. Organized by Thrive Volunteer Coordinators, the mats project taps into the knitting and weaving skills of residents, encourages group communication, and incorporates physical activity. Everyone plays a role from collecting and sorting plastic bags, to cutting and weaving. One volunteer weaver stated, “I feel good knowing my work might be making some small difference in someone’s life.”

These stories and more demonstrate the success of Thrive in engaging and energizing residents. Read the full article written by Era Living’s Cliff Warner in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing  to learn more.