Last year, Vi at Lakeside Village in Lantana, Florida, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a party for residents and staff. During the event, the Life Plan Community looked back on its 20 momentous years, but also looked forward. One symbol of that forward motion and vision was the christening of the community’s new pontoon boat, the “Living Well.”
The ceremony represented a new direction – a shared commitment between residents and staff toward integrating wellness into every single day. This commitment comes to life in a multitude of ways, from new, more engaging opportunities to stay active to encouraging continued learning through stimulating lectures and debates.
“This concept of living well is woven into all of our programming,” said Tamara Sawicz, lifestyle director, Vi at Lakeside Village. Rather than finding just things to do, all members of the community work together to seek out and plan events that engage the mind, body and spirit all at once.
Springing into Spring
The community wasted no time finding ways to bring the new commitment to wellness to life. In May for National Strawberry Month, Vi at Lakeside Village organized an outing to Bedner’s Farm in nearby Boynton Beach. “The residents got great exercise walking through the marshes of the Florida reserves,” said Sawicz. “The tour guide taught us all about the vegetation, which engaged our minds, and our spirits were enriched by sharing the experience in this beautiful social setting together.”
“I tell everyone how lucky we are to live in a place that supports our whole health,” said Fran Whitney, an active 20-year resident of the community. She supports this new commitment in her own life by discovering new ways to keep active. Fran embraces every opportunity that comes her way, from working in the library and taking yoga with meditation to attending regularly scheduled lectures.
From Broadway to Lantana
Stimulating lectures and discussions have long been a popular part of the programming for residents at Lakeside Village. And for a senior living community of accomplished, culturally aware residents, not just any old lecture will do. When the musical Hamilton was traveling from Broadway to every major city in the United States, Vi at Lakeside Village saw an opportunity for members of the community to be a part of the conversation sweeping the country. They invited Lynn University’s renowned political professor Dr. Robert Watson to speak on the history that inspired the award-winning Broadway show. “He really brought it to life. Not only did we get a history lesson, but we were on the pulse of the hottest cultural phenomenon in the country. It was a spirited event!” said Sawicz.
Creating a True Community Spirit
Vi at Lakeside Village doesn’t just look to the outside for inspiration to support its mission of holistic wellness. Residents are encouraged to lend a hand and bring their own expertise to the table when launching new programs, clubs and events. As one of the community’s original residents, Skip Bloomgarden has been an integral part of crafting its unique spirit. “There is so much going on and so many people to do things with,” he said. “It’s hard to feel lonely here.” Over the last 20 years, he started a men’s club, and he writes articles for the Vi Living newspaper, teaches Spanish classes and lectures on his world travels.
And Skip is far from the exception. “Our residents care so much about where they live,” said Sawicz. “We have a big focus here on gratitude and volunteerism.” From decorating committees to the food council, residents are actively involved in making their community a better place to live for each other.
Living Well for Years to Come
Since its christening, the “Living Well” boat has pushed off from the community dock on Lake Osborne for many sunset cruises and hosted parties where residents have toasted to 20 years of memories. And for Tamara Sawicz, the successes of the last 20 years have inspired her to focus on the future of Vi at Lakeside Village. “It’s important that our residents are positioned to live well for years to come!” she says.