Greater Good

April 23, 2020 By Julie Turner

Flexing Virtual Muscle

As wellness director of Paradise Valley Estates, Jan Olson has flexed her traditionally fitness-focused role with emerging activities that are benefitting the more than 500 residents of the Life Plan Community during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve been great about keeping the virus out of our community,” says Jan. “We’re equally dedicated to helping residents manage the stress and isolation of the outbreak, too.”

With the community’s full continuum of care, Jan and her team are overseeing an extensive and ever-evolving effort. Residential living residents can enjoy activities such as live music performances in outdoor cul-de-sacs and physically distant Hallway Bingo in apartment buildings while assisted and skilled nursing residents enjoy meaningful in-room engagement such as virtual guided meditation, live music performances and online platforms such as It’s Never Too Late or community-created content like Today in Paradise.

Jan’s team, with support from other areas, developed and launched the weekday morning TV show Today in Paradise as a fun way to share upcoming activities, reinforce safety guidelines and inject much-needed levity into daily life. Up to half of the community’s residents watch the 20- to 30-minute episodes, which run three days a week on the community’s cable channel. The community also surprises residents with community-wide treats like ice cream delivery and pizza-and-a-movie nights.

With the state’s ongoing shelter in place order, Jan ensures that whole-person wellness is a sustained focus in the community’s ongoing COVID response. “I’ve been working remotely because of my age so I’m not even on the campus,” says Jan. “But that has really helped me as we enhance virtual wellness options. I’ve had time to focus on learning how to deliver creative experiences that are successful.” She’s even enrolled in a free, online class. “I’m taking a Science of Wellbeing class offered by Yale University,” she says. “I’m already bringing the concepts I’m learning in class to PVE.”

The wellness team’s remote work environment is teaching them about the realities of providing virtual experiences. “We’ve learned you really have to plan ahead, and good communication is absolutely crucial,” she says. “As a team we think through possible barriers to participation and sometimes experience them ourselves,” says Jan.

One thing Jan and her team never waver in is their belief that their work is essential.

“Our community is here for residents in good times and bad,” she says. “These activities do more than help residents pass the time; they strengthen and maintain the social bonds that are integral to wellness. Here, your entire wellbeing is paramount not just your health.”

Visit the Greater Good to learn how our Life Plan Community residents and team members are working hard to keep our community well and safe.


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