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Employee wellness programs have become a growing interest and expectation for many, especially among young millennials. As more individuals are dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, more employers are focusing on their overall culture and engagement strategy surrounding wellness programs. The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. has been addressing this concern for years by providing programs to help staff members live happy and healthy lifestyles, and the nonprofit organization is now offering even more. The organization recently hosted its annual “Stress Busters/Wellness Day Event” at The Legacy Willow Bend community in Plano to show appreciation for employees and make sure they are taking care of themselves as diligently as they are taking care of the residents. Caring for seniors can be a stressful job at times, and the organization wants to make sure that employees feel supported each and every day. In addition, The Legacy Senior Communities recently has started offering regular yoga classes for the staff members at both The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano and The Legacy Preston Hollow in Dallas. It is important to The Legacy Senior Communities to educate its employees on the inevitable stress that can come with working in the senior living industry and how to work through the anxiety in healthy ways. Allowing time during the work day and providing resources for the staff to come together and engage in various health-focused activities has been beneficial to all who participate.                                                                                                                     

“People look forward to our wellness day activities; they are well-attended each time we host them and always produce great feedback. Ultimately, it’s a demonstration of our appreciation for the excellent teamwork exhibited by the staff and an acknowledgement of the consistent effort given,” said Melissa Wong, human resources director for The Legacy Senior Communities. “These individuals spend their days serving others and giving of themselves, so this is The Legacy Senior Communities’ way of giving back to them and making sure they have the opportunity to be served.”

Most recently at the Stress Busters event, The Legacy Senior Communities brought in a variety of vendors and activity stations for muscle tension screening by local chiropractors, chair and hand massages with paraffin wax and even shopping with Premier Jewelry and My Beaded Feet. An expert on handwriting also came to analyze the staff members’ handwriting and describe what their style says about them. Volunteers were on hand to make and serve the staff cold fruit smoothies, and many participated in mini-yoga sessions and a Drums Alive® class. Staff members also had the chance to learn more about local gym membership in the area at the event. Several had their blood pressure and glucose readings checked as well.

“This ‘Stress Busters’ event is a way to give our employees some down time during the day and let them take a much-needed break,” said Wong. “What started as a relatively small event has grown into a popular and exciting day for the staff members. It has become part of The Legacy Senior Communities’ philosophy. Maintaining good health and wellness is not just verbally promoted; we provide opportunities to get the staff engaged and empower them to take action.”

In addition, The Legacy Senior Communities is offering more frequent opportunities for employees to manage stress and stay healthy. There has been discussion among a group of employees at The Legacy Willow Bend to organize an official “Walking Club” during lunch, and Rivae Balkin-Kliman, volunteer coordinator for The Legacy Senior Communities, has arranged for local yoga instructor Verad Golan to come to each community and offer yoga sessions regularly as well. Every Tuesday evening, a yoga class is offered at The Legacy Preston Hollow in Dallas, and Golan just began leading yoga classes for the staff at The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano once a month during the lunch hour as well.

“The yoga sessions have been extremely beneficial for us under Verad’s direction,” said Balkin-Kliman. “She’s very knowledgeable and always shares a positive message of encouragement at the end of each session. It’s been a great way for us to learn more about ways to relax our bodies and minds in a healthy way together and literally stretch our muscles while stretching our comfort zones a bit. It’s been fabulous so far.”

“We are proud to have such caring individuals on staff for The Legacy Senior Communities, but often those who are so concerned with providing the highest quality of care for others need to pause and make time to take care of themselves,” said Andrea Statman, director of development for The Legacy Senior Communities. “Offering annual events and weekly or monthly fitness opportunities is important to our culture because we are promoting healthy lifestyle choices for our staff members as much as we are for our senior residents. When employees are healthy and happy, they are better equipped to ensure our residents are healthy and happy. The entire atmosphere is more positive, and everyone thrives.”