Nine Core Elements—How Care Happens at Inspīr, Part 2

BY: 

Eleonora Tornatore-Mikesh

Inspīr delivers a transformative senior living experience that exceeds every dimension of senior care. The residence was purposefully designed to promote health and wellness as well as harmony and connectedness for residents, families, and staff. It was also built on a philosophy of vibrant, intentional living and meaningful connection, which we bring to life through our Nine Core Elements.

To explore these Nine Core Elements, we sat down with Eleonora Tornatore-Mikesh, Chief Experience & Memory Care Officer at Inspīr. Eleonora brings more than two decades of experience improving the lives of seniors, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

What follows is part two of our blog series, which provides a deeper insight into three of our Nine Core Elements: Engagement, Purpose, and Movement + Mobility. In case you missed Part 1, you can catch up on it here.

Female resident having dinner with a friend

Engagement

People who are actively engaged lead better lives. That’s why we tap into our residents’ interests and abilities to keep them as stimulated as possible—both in the building and in the surrounding neighborhood—every single day.

Q: Previously we talked about how important engagement is, particularly as we age, but can you tell us more about how Inspīr fosters an environment of engagement?

A: At Inspīr, we think about engagement in everything we do. After all, it’s something we as humans crave in our everyday lives. You know, making connections. And if anything, the importance of engagement only grows over time. In fact, it’s central to the decisions we made about the architectural elements of Inspīr residences. Inspīr Carnegie Hill has been mindfully designed to keep residents continually connected with the outdoors and with social opportunities. There is ample open space for meeting with friends and family, and for creating serendipitous moments of interaction as well.

And engagement also comes into play when we talk about providing care for our residents. We made it a priority to infuse engagement into the care we provide every day. Simply talking to a resident about how they’re feeling and what their goals are. But also, just getting to know them as people and members of the Inspīr community.

And speaking of community, one of the most wonderful engagement opportunities you have living at Inspīr is the partnerships we have with well-known organizations in arts and culture, education, and fitness. We bring those partners right here on-site to enable residents to explore their interests or find passions they never even knew they had. Every program and experience we offer has been specifically developed to bring positivity and wellness into the lives of our residents. Of course, residents can explore cultural opportunities in the surrounding neighborhood as well. For example, The Met and the Guggenheim located in very close proximity to Inspīr Carnegie Hill.

Female resident smiling with partner while looking out of the window and enjoying a morning cup of tea

Purpose

We all need a sense of purpose in life. We support our residents in seeking and maintaining that sense of purpose throughout their journey of life, with programs that are particularly meaningful for each individual. For example, programs that highlight resident-facilitated teaching and intergenerational learning.

Q: Not to get too existential, but what’s your take on finding purpose in life?

A: I don’t think you’re getting too existential at all, actually. I believe that finding purpose in life is directly connected to both happiness and longevity. Quite literally, purpose is something that gets you out of bed in the morning. Over the past two decades, dozens of studies have shown that seniors with a sense of purpose in life are less likely to develop certain diseases, among them, Alzheimer’s.

To me, it’s also about personal fulfillment, and the way we connect with the world around us. As we age, that purpose changes because maybe we no longer have that career or spend as much time raising children. And that’s where we at Inspīr have an opportunity to help residents discover, or rediscover, that “next purpose.”

 

Q: “Next purpose” … that’s an intriguing concept. I think sometimes we forget our careers and our everyday responsibilities will really change course as we age. Could you expand on how Inspīr helps people find that “next purpose”?

A: Absolutely. I mean, ultimately, it’s something a resident discovers within themselves, but we can certainly help in that discovery. Look at our name. We’re about inspiring people every day. And that can mean helping a resident learn a new skill or apply a skill in a completely new way. Maybe a resident was a French teacher, and now she can teach her own peers in a new setting, and now in her very own style. The possibilities are endless. But, yes, we will create practically any opportunity to further one’s skill set depending on what interests them, for example, with cooking classes, arts classes, and more.

Female resident enjoying a swim in the pool

MOVEMENT + MOBILITY

We’re meant to be moving. And so, we offer daily programs that keep our residents in motion, naturally and purposefully. We empower residents to stay mobile, in both the building and the community around us.

Q: Can you talk about how important mobility is as we age?

A: Well, when we’re young, moving our bodies is something probably many of us take for granted. First, because it comes so easily. But also, because there are so many opportunities to do so. At Inspīr, we want to challenge the notion of moving less as we age.

We know that physical activity and aerobic exercise have been found to have significant brain benefits. We also know that movement can be accomplished in many different forms––not everybody needs to be an athlete. That being said, have you seen the Senior Olympics? So very inspiring. But, yes, we support our residents in finding the kinds of activities that suit their interests and abilities. And so does the building itself.

 

Q: So, how does mobility come into play during a typical day at Inspīr?

A: One may choose to swim laps in our gorgeous pool, while others may want to help plant and tend to our gardens. Providing opportunities for movement that are based on our residents’ interests is the key ingredient for them to stick with their activities over the long term. It’s no different than with people of any age. Find something you enjoy so you’re motivated to continue doing it. And having a well-appointed living experience like Inspīr certainly doesn’t hurt. The goal is an environment where physical activity goes from being a question to an answer.

Check back soon for Part 3 of this series, where we’ll dive more deeply into the next three of the Nine Core Elements.