by Mike Lee
Senior wellness is such a buzzword these days. But what does that actually mean?
Is wellness your physical health? What about your spiritual and emotional wellbeing?
As Vice President for Wellness for TouchMark – an operator of 11 full-service senior living communities in the U.S. and Canada – Dianna Lawrence is passionate about wellness.
In fact, she travels teaching on the subject and finding out what wellness means to individuals.
“Wellness to me is a process and it’s meeting people where they are on their path to health,” Lawrence said. “It’s also a mindset. It’s not simply the absence of disease. The reason we talk about dimensions of wellness is we want everyone to learn they can self-assess to find ways to enhance their own personal wellness.”
Lawrence is a certified Wellness Professional through the Wellness Council of America and Exercise Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She also is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, CPR, and Basic Life Support through the American Red Cross.
Lawrence is passionate about lifestyle and wellness and working with people to help improve their health and well-being. She is responsible for developing and supporting Touchmark’s Full Life Wellness & Life Enrichment Program and encouraging wellness among residents, health and fitness club members, and team members.
Seniors need to take their wellness in their own hands.
“Challenging your brain is probably one of the most important things you can do,” Lawrence said. “Give it a reason to function. Give it a fighting chance. Your brain likes to be challenged.”
That involves learning something new, an instrument or a game.
“You don’t have to have the right answer just the act of challenging your brain helps,” she said.
And don’t think you’re too busy to improve your health.
Lawrence says a single second can be used to sit up tall. Two more seconds can be used to stand up. While you’re up, smile.
“If you have 10 seconds you can tighten your ab muscles and if you have 15 seconds take four slow, deep breathes to enhance your wellbeing.”
Lawrence discusses the seven dimensions of wellness, which include emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, spiritual and social well-being.
Before joining Touchmark in 2015, she developed and launched the employee wellness program at John C. Lincoln Health Network in Phoenix, Arizona.
Prior to that, she worked for 20 years in inpatient and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation at several organizations, including Lenox Hill Hospital and Winthrop University Hospital, both in New York. She has also worked as an adjunct professor at Phoenix College.
Lawrence received her bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy at Northern Arizona University and her Master of Science in Exercise Physiology at East Stroudsburg University. She has been a member of and served as an application reviewer for the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). She has also chaired the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk Committee and been a Mended Hearts speaker.
Lawrence also volunteered with the Arizona Small Business Association as well as the Phoenix fitPHX program, a citywide healthy-living initiative. She received the Silver Award for her work on that effort. An avid reader, she enjoys running, practicing yoga, and participating in most wellness-related activities. She has been a Girl Scout leader and has twice run the New York City marathon. She and her husband Peter have two daughters.
Touchmark has been serving people since 1980, when Werner G. Nistler, Jr. founded the company. Today he still leads the company as CEO, instilling his strong mission and values among nearly 2,000 team members who serve residents.
Locally, Touchmark at Coffee Creek is a full-service retirement community located off Covell at 2801 Shortgrass Road in Edmond. Touchmark at Coffee Creek is part of North Edmond’s Coffee Creek planned residential development, which includes 638 acres of homes, a golf course, recreational centers, and walking and biking trails.
“Everybody wants to know how they can improve their health and wellbeing,” Lawrence said. “I feel there is such an opportunity and there’s a lot of potential to positively affect people’s lives with wellness. Your lifestyle is so important and we need not to overlook the value it plays in your life.”