Ac­tive se­niors shar­ing per­sonal well­ness jour­neys

Times of the Islands - - Health care - BY HEATHER BATTEY

As a nat­u­ral part of the aging process, se­niors may be­come re­luc­tant to try new things. How­ever, ex­pe­ri­ence has shown that a fo­cus on per­sonal well­ness can over­come this ten­dency. Through a pro­gram called LifeQuest, res­i­dents of Shell Point Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity in Fort My­ers have adopted a pos­i­tive ap­proach to well­ness and ac­tive aging that pro­motes per­sonal growth and healthy liv­ing. Any­one can use LifeQuest’s well­ness prin­ci­ples to achieve pos­i­tive re­sults.


Shell Point’s Paul Peter­son rode an all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle for the first time at age 85. Paul admits learn­ing this new skill was both fun and ad­ven­tur­ous. “Paul was thrilled to try some­thing new at his age,” shares Paul’s wife, Carolyn.

Paul re­lies on Shell Point’s well­ness pro­gram for sup­port, at­tends Shell Point fit­ness classes and takes a yearly Se­nior Fit Test, or SFT, to gauge his suc­cess. One year, Paul scored above av­er­age on all seg­ments of his SFT, and his wife framed the re­sults to show his doc­tor as proof of his health jour­ney.


Shell Point res­i­dent Dotty Mor­ri­son re­tired early at 56, and soon af­ter joined the Shell Point Photo Club, Vil­lage Church Choir, and more. “I like be­ing chal­lenged to learn new things, and love meet­ing peo­ple,” shares Dotty.

A go-get­ter by na­ture, Dotty slowed down af­ter knee re­place­ment in early 2016, fol­lowed by phys­i­cal ther­apy at the Shell Point Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter. Dotty set a short-term goal―a four-hour hik­ing and bird­ing ex­cur­sion or­ga­nized by the Caloosa Bird Club.

Dotty in a few months dis­cov­ered how many di­men­sions of well­ness can be in­cor­po­rated into one ac­tiv­ity as she trod the na­ture board­walk at Lee County’s Six-Mile Cy­press Slough Pre­serve. This bird­ing en­thu­si­ast com­bined com­mu­nity and so­cial, nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, ed­u­ca­tional, phys­i­cal, spir­i­tual, and even emo­tional di­men­sions, as she ex­pe­ri­enced the sat­is­fac­tion of her hard-earned ac­com­plish­ment.

Down the road, re­in­forced by her on­go­ing re­hab pro­gram, Dotty plans a trip to the Galá­pa­gos Is­lands.


Some se­niors are also pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cates for con­nect­ing oth­ers with sup­port­ive re­sources. Shell Point res­i­dents Will and Mar­cia O’Hara, mo­ti­vated by Will’s bat­tle with blad­der can­cer, daily in­spire oth­ers to take ac­tion. The O’Haras re­cently ral­lied com­mu­nity participation in a lo­cal blad­der can­cer walk to build aware­ness and fund­ing for re­search; 50 per­cent of the at­ten­dees were Shell Point rep­re­sen­ta­tives. “Your life does not stop [with a di­ag­no­sis]; you keep go­ing and con­tinue to live. Never take ‘no’ for an an­swer, and re­mem­ber that knowl­edge is power,” Will says.

As re­sort ser­vices and well­ness man­ager at Shell Point Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity, guest con­trib­u­tor Heather Battey man­ages Shell Point’s LifeQuest well­ness pro­gram and over­sees the plan­ning of di­verse pro­grams, volunteer ac­tiv­i­ties and spon­sored trips for res­i­dents.

Dotty Mor­ri­son (left) is back bird­ing af­ter knee surgery ear­lier this year. Will and Mar­cia O’Hara (cen­ter) now help oth­ers fac­ing a life-chang­ing di­ag­no­sis. Paul Peter­son (right) rode an ATV for the first time af­ter working with Shell P oint's LifeQuest well­ness pro­gram. He's 85.

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