According to Michael Williams, Cura Vice President, Nutrition and Wellness, DBA, MBD, RD, CDN, “March is the perfect time to get our residents excited about exercising regularly and fueling with good nutrition! Making time for physical activity is a good habit to get into at any point in life, but it can be especially beneficial to older adults by keeping them active late into life. Regular physical activity can also help prevent several diseases.”
Designed to be used in retail venues of a life plan or senior living community, BeWell Nutrition for the Active Adult rewards resident “exercise” by Cura managers or members of the community’s fitness and wellness staff who punch or stamp their loyalty rewards card. After the card is stamped 10 times for their activity/exercise, the resident can select from a menu of several FREE and easily identified BeWell food items (identified by a blueberry).
Cura managers are also encouraged to integrate additional BeWell menu items and position Cura’s infused water signature program “H2ahh,” near fitness areas so residents can stay hydrated. Managers can take it one step further by entering rewards cards in quarterly drawings to win prizes such as fitness equipment, popular branded workout gear, or baskets of fresh produce.
Nutrition for the Active Adult was first piloted at Menno Haven, a retirement community in Chambersburg, PA, and its rehabilitation center, which is the first known WELL-certified skilled nursing building in the world! More than 58 residents participated in the three-month test pilot program in 2022, of which 65 cards were returned. Healthier eating habits continued even after the promotion, inspiring 45% of the participating residents to purchase additional BeWell items — which was not their typical purchase.
Sales during the promotion also soared by 12% in the About Thyme Bistro which offers quick and nutritious meals including many BeWell menu items! Seasonal produce such as fresh strawberries, romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, spring onion, and portabella mushrooms that are grown locally are even used in menu recipes in About Thyme.
According to Jeremy Fry, Cura Executive Director of Culinary Services at Menno Haven, “Our community was ideal for the promotion as BeWell aligns with Menno Haven’s WELL certification. To be WELL Certified means that a building, and everything in it, is created to provide comfort, drive better choices, and enhance the overall health and well-being of those living and working in it.”
As part of the certification, Cura at Menno Haven follows the WELL nourishment standards. Scratch food is consistently prepared to optimize health and nutrition while operating procedures and service levels enhance the overall dining experience. “One of our biggest impacts is educating the consumer on how to make healthy food choices through BeWell and encouraging exercise through Nutrition for the Active Adult.”
As part of BeWell Nutrition for the Active Adult, Cura’s communities will make nutritional information even more accessible through frequent culinary demonstrations where onsite dietitians team up with executive chefs and wellness teams to help promote healthier lifestyles. “We suggest and support many topics that include eating for activity, nutrient-focused activity, managing diabetes, and exercise guidelines. Monthly BeWell wellness events will continue featuring presentations on foods that support health and well-being including information on superfoods and food as medicine,” says Williams. For residents who are living independently, step-by-step recipe instructions with nutritional detail are created so that residents can replicate them in their homes.
Cura will offer Nutrition for the Active Adult training to operators, and provide a detailed implementation guide that includes creative marketing and helpful support materials such as flyers, rewards cards, wellness tips for digital signage, example menus, and popular “healthier” snack suggestions! Cura even offers diagrams to managers on how to table events displaying BeWell and Nutrition for the Active Adult information so they can best promote their programs to residents and even employees. “We also encourage our older adult employees to participate and take advantage of what we offer,” adds Williams.
BeWell’s Nutrition for the Active Adult can be implemented at any time, with a suggested four-week cycle and support from Cura’s regional and wellness directors.