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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Seniors Benefit from Community Connection

Dec 03, 2012 10:35AM ● By Brooke Hicks

Marci Shimoff’s reflection on unconditional love provides seven access points to experiencing more love. The last one is, “Oneness, feeling connected with the greater wholeness of life.” This connection is very important for elders that live in senior and assisted living communities. Beyond the connection felt with inclusion in family life and socializing with friends, research shows that seniors that feel a sense of purpose and learn new things are healthier, both physically and mentally.

Glenn Barclay, owner and CEO of The Blake at Gulf Breeze, a retirement, assisted living and memory care community, has an understanding of what can make a difference for the seniors. Barclay has been involved with elder care for many years and feels that the primary factor for an enjoyable retirement is older adults’ health and wellness. Barclay believes older adults must be part of a community, and that means giving back.

“One of the best programs we have is our service that bring together our residents with the many groups that need volunteers. Older adults have so much to contribute and their services are so appreciated. I think making a difference for others is what makes a difference in how connected they feel,” says Barclay.

The Oriole Beach Elementary School program is an example of a Blake volunteer group. The Blake residents volunteer once a month at the school. “The children at the school and our residents love it when we come to visit and do crafts, read stories or play games,” says Stacey Secord, recreation therapist at The Bake.

It can be a challenge to help seniors stay connected in the community once they make the transition to a senior or assisted living facility. This is best accomplished by a combination of a variety of successful outbound programs and the commitment of both staff and family members.

Brooke Hicks is a director at The Blake. For more information, visit contact Brooke Hicks at 850-934-4306 or visit

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