Reflections of Happiness

Posted on

Jan 15, 2016

Share This
- by Kelly Smith Papa, RN, MSN, Corporate Director of Learning for Masonicare
In almost twenty years of working in aging services, my favorite moments have always been learning what brings happiness to the seniors I am entrusted to care for.
If you google the definition of happiness, 25 million results emerge. Studies showed that the habits of happy people include living with purpose, having a positive outlook for the future and the resilience to bounce back from sad events.
In aging services, we are afforded a unique opportunity: to learn from our elders, some with frailty, cognitive deficits or disease, what brings them happiness after decades of life, and what are the things they find to be the most important for quality of life. Then we get the privilege of finding ways to bring happiness into their lives.
I was blessed with having close relationships with all four of my grandparents before they passed away. As I think about what made them happy, I am mindful that their enthusiasm for the things that brought them happiness taught me so much about life. Each of my grandparents shared the wisdom of their life legacy, their unique sparks, their faith in God, compassion for others and their connection to family. As a nurse and educator, it is my privilege to be a part of a team dedicated to learning more about the lives of the people we are entrusted to care for. It is a joy to find ways to bring more happiness into their days.
There are wonderful books that offer thoughtful ideas on happiness and aging. Dr. Bill Thomas book, A Life Worth Living, and Jolene Brackeys book, Creating Moments of Joy, offer insights for bringing happiness, quality of life and deep relationships with seniors, including those with dementia. The book Legacy by Linda Spence provides reflective questions to help us unlock the memories which make up a life.
When it comes to living a life with happiness, the answers are personal and limitless.

Other Articles You May Like

Empowering Older Adults: Unlocking the Benefits of LIFE Pittsburgh

As the population ages, there is a growing need for innovative and comprehensive programs to support older adults in maintaining their independence and quality of life. LIFE Pittsburgh, an organization committed to providing healthcare solutions tailored to seniors, stands out as a beacon of support for older adults in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In this article, we will explore the myriad benefits of LIFE Pittsburgh and how this program plays a crucial role in enhancing the well-being of older individuals in the city.Understanding LIFE Pittsburgh:LIFE Pittsburgh, also known as Living Independence for the Elderly, is a program designed to offer a comprehensive and holistic approach to healthcare for older adults. The program's core focus is to enable seniors to age in place by providing a range of services that address their medical, social, and emotional needs. LIFE Pittsburgh operates under the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which emphasizes a person-centered approach to healthcare. PACE Programs in Pennsylvania are often referred to as "LIFE Programs".Benefits of LIFE Pittsburgh:Integrated Healthcare Services: One of the key benefits of LIFE Pittsburgh is the provision of integrated healthcare services. Participants in the program have access to a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, therapists, and social workers. This collaborative approach ensures that the medical needs of older adults are not only met but are also comprehensively addressed.Aging in Place: LIFE Pittsburgh is rooted in the principle of enabling older adults to age in place. The program offers a range of services that support seniors in living independently in their homes for as long as possible. This includes home-based care, transportation services, and assistance with activities of daily living. The emphasis on aging in place fosters a sense of familiarity and comfort for participants.Cost-Effective Healthcare: Participating in LIFE Pittsburgh can result in cost savings for older adults. The program's integrated model helps streamline healthcare services, reducing the need for multiple specialists and hospital visits. This, in turn, can contribute to lower overall healthcare costs while ensuring that seniors receive high-quality care tailored to their specific needs.Comprehensive Social Support: Beyond medical care, LIFE Pittsburgh recognizes the importance of social connections for the well-being of older adults. The program offers a range of social activities, support groups, and community engagement opportunities. This holistic approach addresses not only the physical health of participants but also their mental and emotional well-being.Personalized Care Plans: Each participant in LIFE Pittsburgh receives a personalized care plan that is tailored to their unique health needs and goals. The care plan is developed in collaboration with the individual, their family, and the interdisciplinary healthcare team. This personalized approach ensures that older adults receive the right care at the right time.Now, let's delve into how LIFE Pittsburgh specifically benefits older adults in Pittsburgh:Local Community Engagement: LIFE Pittsburgh is deeply embedded in the local community, providing older adults with opportunities to engage with their neighbors and fellow participants. Community events, social gatherings, and local partnerships contribute to a sense of belonging and community support.Transportation Assistance: Pittsburgh's hilly terrain and diverse neighborhoods can pose challenges for older adults when it comes to transportation. LIFE Pittsburgh addresses this by offering transportation services, ensuring that participants can easily access healthcare appointments, community activities, and essential services.Cultural Sensitivity: Pittsburgh is known for its rich cultural diversity, and LIFE Pittsburgh recognizes the importance of cultural sensitivity in providing healthcare. The program strives to understand and respect the diverse backgrounds of its participants, ensuring that care plans are culturally competent and inclusive.Navigating Local Resources: LIFE Pittsburgh serves as a valuable resource for older adults in navigating the local healthcare landscape. From assisting with insurance matters to connecting participants with community resources, the program acts as a guide, simplifying the process of accessing essential services for seniors.LIFE Pittsburgh emerges as a lifeline for older adults in Pittsburgh, PA offering a comprehensive and person-centered approach to healthcare. The program's commitment to integrated services, aging in place, cost-effective healthcare, social support, and personalized care plans collectively contribute to an enhanced quality of life for participants. As the population continues to age, programs like LIFE Pittsburgh play a vital role in ensuring that older adults can age with dignity, independence, and a strong sense of community in the vibrant city of Pittsburgh. To learn more about eligibility and more details on LIFE Pittsburgh, reach out to us at 412-388-8050.

Prime Healthcare Passionate about Seniors

Prime Healthcare Passionate about SeniorsAt St. Joseph Medical Center, weve made changes to provide specialized care tailored to seniors. As the first accredited geriatric ER in KC, we identify seniors that may need extra support during or after their hospitalization. Our inpatient Senior Behavioral Health Unit provides care for adults over 55 years of age experiencing acute behavioral symptoms associated with dementia and/or other mental health conditions.Paul Hura, MD, Senior Care Services Medical Director shares, "It is an honor and privilege to care for our seniors, and these philosophies remain very important to our physicians, nurses and entire healthcare teams at St. Joseph Medical Center.St. Marys Medical Center is a patient-centered community hospital in Blue Springs, Missouri providing comprehensive quality care with state-of-the-art treatment in a warm, caring environment.  With the only accredited Geriatric Emergency Department in Eastern Jackson County, Dr. Michael Liston, Cardiologist and Chief Medical Officer, understands this well.  We take caring for seniors to heart.  St. Marys holds numerous Grade A and 5-star ratings, while continuing to offer hometown touches such as walk-in 3D Mammograms.   As a community partner with local schools, chambers, and charitable organizations, St. Marys is Your Community Hospital.  StMarysKC.comIn Leavenworth, Saint John Hospital offers Senior Behavioral Health for inpatient care. During a patients stay, the unit uses a multi-sensory and multi-disciplinary approach to care. Our specialized staff supports patients and family member with comprehensive nursing care 24 hours a day. Many times, the slow loss of a loved ones sense of self and memory is confusing and difficult for the individual and their loved ones through some of the more difficult aspects of dementia, says Dr. Amand, Psychiatrist and Medical Director. Providence Medical Center is a community hospital located in Kansas City, Kansas. Committed to excellence and award-winning patient care, Providence received an A grade on the 2023-24 Lown Institute Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility. Providence achieved this honor through strong performance across metrics of health equity, patient outcomes, and value of care, out of more than 3,600 hospitals nationwide. Providence has received a five-star rating from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The star award is given based on metrics such as mortality, readmission, patient safety and patient experience. Providence is also nationally recognized in multiple service lines, receiving 18 awards with eight Five-Star ratings, according to research released by Healthgrades.   

Mental Health Resilience Training Now Available Through Learn to Live

We all face challenges in this environment that can be difficult to navigate. If the stress of these challenges isnt addressed, it can lead to mood and behavioral health issues such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia.A survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that more than three-quarters of adults (76%) said they have experienced a negative health impact due to stress in the prior month, including headaches, fatigue, or feelings of nervousness and sadness.Severe stress can be triggered by a wide range of experiences, including:        Conflict with others in leadership        Caring for children or ailing family members        Civil liberties distress        An uncertain future        Inflation and the economy        Concerns over crime and safetyLearning to handle lifes challenges more efficiently and effectively is where resilience comes in. According to the American Psychological Association, psychological resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.Learn to Live, which offers customized online programs based on the proven principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), has created a new educational program centered on resilience to help people do just that.Why is resilience important?Learn to Live, which already provided existing programs for those experiencing depression, anxiety, insomnia and other challenges, wanted to create a new program that could help reduce the risk of developing those conditions in the first place.Everyone can benefit from resilience, says Dr. Russ Morfitt, co-founder and chief clinical officer at Learn to Live. Its our first program that provides participants, with or without symptoms of mental health problems, the tools to improve mental fitness. We think thats really important. According to Dr. Morfitt, resilient individuals are more equipped to:        Cope with the demands of everyday life        Manage adversity        Improve emotional well-being        Build and keep strong relationships        Think optimistically        Be able to recover from setbacksLearn to Lives Resilience program includes eight lessons that help members overcome challenges in their work and personal lives and keep moving forward in life.One of the lessons focuses on Present Awareness and learning to be more mindful and less distracted by everyday worries. This can help a person stay focused, making it more likely they will progress towards personal wellbeing goals.We want everyone to learn research-informed strategies that can help us look ahead at the day with confidence, in spite of the uncertain future, the potential for pain and disappointment, and inevitable obstacles ahead of us, says Dr. Morfitt. Its the people who keep bouncing back who are successful and we want to equip more individuals to be those people.Learn moreLearn to Live offers a free resilience assessment to identify which stressors are affecting your life and how well you are equipped to overcome life's setbacks.Get more information about Learn to Live at To find out if the Resilience program is covered under your Blue Cross MN health plan, call the number on the back of your member ID card or visit to review your offerings.