By Paula Ray
When I worked for Mt. San Antonio Gardens as its first wellness coordinator 25 years ago, wellness was a new concept in senior communities. It was a time of teaching individuals not already accustomed to all of the components of wellness. From the beginning, we focused on empowering residents to design their own personalized wellness journey.
Now, as a resident myself, I do whatever I can to feel as good as I can for as long as I can. I reap the benefits of our brand-new wellness center and its many amenities like the state-of-the-art fitness gym, yoga and dance studio, resistance training, Pilates studio, aquatics and more. The incorporation of the six components of wellness: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual and functional continues to be the foundation of Mt. San Antonio Gardens’ current wellness program.
Throughout my 20-year career in occupational therapy, I worked with individuals as they aged. I saw firsthand how challenging it is to age in your own home. There is a feeling of isolation as your social circle grows smaller and smaller. When you think about aging in your own home, you have to remember that your home can’t take you to the grocery store or your doctors’ appointments. The responsibility of care often falls on busy friends and family who end up being caretakers and having to handle the burden of downsizing.
Mt. San Antonio Gardens makes planning for the future more manageable. The concept of downsizing is challenging but as someone once told me, “Downsizing is like a colonoscopy; the preparation is awful but afterward, it’s a relief.”
At the Gardens, you have friends who moan and groan in camaraderie during classes like my favorite — mat Pilates — but you know we are loving it because we keep coming back. I walk more regularly than I did before. I used to go to the local gym, but here it is right next door, and I don’t usually have to wait to use the equipment. There are also other programs that are a part of wellness like the local bird-watching group, art classes, dramatic performances and a wonderful array of things you can do that you may never have done before.
Every dinner event we’ve been to, you learn something because it is such a stimulating environment. Retirement at the Gardens opens your horizons. I knew it was great to work here, but living at Mt. San Antonio Gardens is even better because people truly care about one another. I have no regrets!
For more information on Mt. San Antonio Gardens or to schedule a personal consultation and tour, call (909) 399-1208 or visit msagardens.org.
- Ray is a resident at Mt. San Antonio Gardens.