Mind, Body and Soul

By: Bethany Vonseggern, Communication Coordinator 
Published: Sept 6, 2022

Mind, body and soul. These three focal points seem to be a mantra that never stops being said. We are to make sure our minds stay sharp, our bodies to stay fit and our souls to stay fed. Many of us may be able to make this a reality, while the rest of us, myself included, simply see a glimpse of this reality from time to time. However, as someone who finds themself surrounded by an aging family I am reminded of the importance of this mantra. Mind, body and soul; the root of healthy aging. 

Healthy aging is much more than simply understanding and managing your health conditions. It’s about creating healthy habits and connecting to your community which hopefully contribute to living a meaningful and productive lifestyle. For some this may only include nutritious diet or workout routine while others may participate in mindfulness meditation or therapy practices. Regardless of which approach one makes, daily choices do make a difference. 

According to the National Institute of Aging (NIA) lack of healthy eating, minimal physical activity and social isolation can lead to higher health risks, cognitive decline and depression. Seeing this take place firsthand, made my decision to have an open conversation about balanced diet and workouts with my parents easier and I was lucky enough to have it well received. With knowledge of aging health risks, like many other older adults, my parents decided it was time to manage their mental health, engage in physical activity and volunteer within their local community. 

Over time, I could see the differences in their mental and physical well-being. My mother regularly speaks about her yoga outings and small get-togethers with the girls. I could see her spirit lift as she made new friends with similar interests. The positive chain reaction from one small activity to the next improved her quality of life and supports her new healthy lifestyle. While my dad has found passion in assisting at his local hospice thrift store managing pre-loved items. NIA states older adults who have an active lifestyle are better prepared to cope, may have improved thinking abilities and are happier. These attributes being several that can lead someone to be a strong influence and support in a volunteer environment. 

Our mission at Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care (KCH) is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. One way we are able to provide our community with this support is through our volunteer efforts. Research suggests using volunteers elevates the level of service in hospice and it’s a meaningful opportunity for adults of all ages. Many have experienced first-hand the positive impact on families that hospice can have and they in turn, become inspired to help other families.

KCH values skill-based volunteerism and honors the wishes of each individual dedicating time to help us fulfill our mission and vision. Volunteers may choose to dedicate time at Kansas City Hospice House, Northcare Hospice House, KCH Solace House, in-home hospice, events, Story Boutique or Heart & Soul. Each position varies providing volunteers to tap into their personalities and skills.  Many volunteers have been pen pals to our patients, provided cheerful artwork on our sidewalks and windows, quilted or knitted blankets for hospice patients and their families. Each opportunity makes a lasting impact on our community and helps the volunteer develop the healthier lifestyle they seek. 

My parents’ experiences of healthy aging are twofold. They are continuously making mindful choices to improve their health through diet, exercise and social activity which inturn makes them healthier cognitively and physically. For me to see this happen it not only makes me happy for them it also makes me aware that I too am aging and need to make the appropriate steps to stay healthy through connection, education and health.

No better time than the present, take care of your mind, body and soul. Take the time to have those meaningful conversations with your family, physician and friends to find out how you can improve your physical and mental well-being through positive social interaction.

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