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Mental Health Awareness Month at Monarch Landing

Everything is in place to help achieve and/or maintain mental wellness.

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The goal of this designation is to provide education and advocacy supporting mental health while fighting the stigma of mental illness.

Sherry Bryant and Jane Zimmerman, residents of Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville, have professional experience and expertise in promoting mental well-being. Their passion for the cause, know-how for modalities to achieve mental well-being, and accessibility to any necessary tools inspired them to launch a month-long program for their fellow residents.
Over the course of the month, Bryant, Zimmerman, and Margaret Scanlon-Dalke, life enrichment manager, have developed an impressive line-up of programs and activities.

Zimmerman said that the foundation of good mental health is taking good care of your physical health. “It’s important to eat well, move, and talk with others. We look at it holistically. Rather
than referring to mental illness, we strive for mental wellness.”

“Taking care of our mental wellness is as important as taking care of our bodies,” said Bryant. Key to mental health, Bryant said, is “looking at your environment and using every resource available. At Monarch Landing, that may include swimming, walking, spirituality, listening to music, meditating, and more.” Zimmerman added, “And eating with others. Companionship and socialization are important, and this is the perfect setting.” Zimmerman runs a mindfulness class at the senior living community that she said has grown significantly in popularity through the years. She said the practice helps create awareness of your present experience without judgment. “Mindfulness leads to higher consciousness and deepening spirituality”. Zimmerman said many participants tell her that attending this program is the best part of their week.

“We are living at Monarch Landing because we want a high quality of life for everyone. It can be tempting for seniors to feel discouraged or old, incompetent, etc.” Bryant said, “We have the resources here to have a great life. You don’t have to work, cook, or maintain your home. You can go outside, enjoy music, visit with friends, and learn new things. We have all the resources that make for a happy environment.”

Events, programs, and activities planned at Monarch Landing during the month include a Mental Health Awareness Walk around Pioneer Park, a presentation by NAMI, a nature photo contest (encouraging residents to spend time outside in nature), sound vibration therapy with crystal singing bowls, outdoor chair tai chi, a laughter therapy program, musical entertainment and more.