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Exploring the Holistic Approach to Caregiving

WellAge July 2 Blog

A holistic approach to healthcare is becoming more and more popular in the world of medicine. The National Center for Health Statistics “estimates that at least… one in every five Americans are utilizing some form of care or treatment outside the medical mainstream (holisticprimarycare.net).”

Beyond this, according to healthline, “In the past few years, many doctors and conventional healthcare institutions in the United States have shown a new acceptance of [holistic] treatments and philosophies that historically have not been part of mainstream medicine.”

At WellAge Senior Living, with communities located throughout Colorado, we understand the value of integrating a holistic approach into our care and services. We know how these practices can positively impact the lives of the individuals we care for and the implementation of these practices sets us apart from other communities.

What is Holistic Care?

“Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person – body, mind, spirit, and emotions – in the quest for optimal health and wellness.” - WebMD

The holistic care approach is about going beyond treating the symptoms that medical conditions present. It is about caring for the person and healing him or her in all aspects of life. As opposed to waiting for an illness or medical condition to surface, the highly personalized, holistic approach to caregiving emphasizes overall wellness and the prevention of future ailments.

Doctors, other medical professionals, and caregivers who understand and take a holistic approach to healthcare and caregiving recognize that the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of your life affect your overall health. When one aspect of your life is compromised, it can impact other aspects.

Taylor Mallory Holland, Dignity Health, writes, “Understanding this, doctors [and caregivers] who take a holistic approach to health don’t just ask you about your symptoms. They ask you about you – your overall health and your life – so they can make personalized recommendations to improve your wellness.”

At WellAge Senior Living, we refer to our holistic care approach as Integrative Wellness, which is a holistic, person-centered, strengths-based approach that focuses on health and wellness, self-direction, respect, hope, connectedness, peer support, empowerment, spiritual fulfillment and meaningful life.

Hope Carwile, BA, LCSW, CCTP, 200YTT, Innovations Specialist, and Olivia Mogab, CTRS, Quality Improvement Specialist, for WellAge Senior Living shares:

"We are on the journey of Integrative Wellness, a whole-body approach to maintaining health and healing. Integrative Wellness often embodies complementary and alternative methods (CAM) such as acupuncture, massage, yoga, aromatherapy and meditation, just to name a few.

We know, in today's mainstream healthcare system, we need to look back and learn from ancient techniques that support the mind, body and spirit in healing, and CAM is an incredible way in preventative care.

We also know a community can be very diverse in complementary and alternative needs. This is why we call it a journey. We want to learn and grow from the members of the community, what does the individual moving in find to be pertinent to their overall well-being? And, if we do not have the offering they are looking for, let's work towards getting it and sharing it with others. This is how a community is established and Integrative Wellness can truly take place."

Benefits of a Holistic Approach

Healing the Root Cause of the Condition

When using a holistic approach to caregiving, the goal is to identify the root cause of the illness or ailment affecting the individual. “Since the holistic approach takes into account the whole person, it works to eliminate the disease through changes in habits, including activities, menu, and focus on self.” By changing your habits, you can note how these changes are affecting your condition, helping you find the source and reason for your condition.

Avoiding Additional Side Effects

With traditional medicine, the focus is generally on treating the symptoms associated with medical conditions and illnesses. This approach often leads to additional side effects from the medications prescribed to treat the original side effects, creating an endless loop of undesired side effects without healing the root cause of the illness or disease.

Using a holistic approach, since you care for the root cause of your symptoms, you are “working to eliminate the cause to the symptoms” instead of masking them with more medications. Often, holistic care can provide relief to symptoms of a disease or illness quicker because of the direct focus on the condition.

Improving Overall Health

Because the holistic approach cares for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – your overall health and wellness are likely to be improved. Holistic care services are designed to improve an individual’s well-being, and since all aspects of health and wellness are connected, when you alter your habits to treat one condition, you, in turn, affect the rest of your being.

Personalizing the Care Plan

No two people are the same, and neither are their ailments or illnesses. Using a holistic care approach ensures that the care provided to you is highly personalized and catered to your specific needs. As your condition changes and improves, your care plan changes to fit your specific needs.

Integrative Wellness at WellAge

At WellAge Senior Living, our focus is on caring for the whole person. We understand the benefits that holistic care provides and use this approach to complement traditional medical care. Integrative wellness within many of our communities include:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Guided Meditation
  • Massage
  • Pet and Animal Therapy
  • Therapeutic Art Classes

While the types of services and integrative wellness options vary by community, all of our communities are dedicated to promoting the overall wellness and well-being of the individuals who call us home.

If you would like to learn more about Integrative Wellness, please reach out to Hope Carwile LCSW, CCTP, 200YTT at HCarwile@vivage.com or Olivia Mogab CTRS at OMogab@vivage.com.