May 30, 2023

Arrow’s D&I Speaker Series: A Mental Health Awareness Conversation on Self-Care with

Category: D&I Series

Author: Charlie Johnson

   Sandy McGatha, Licensed Clinical Social Worker working for Arrow Senior Living, spoke with Richard Wikoff, resident of an Arrow senior living community, about self-care. McGatha comes into the conversation with a background in community therapy and mental health, with experience working as an administrator at an inpatient acute care psychiatric unit for adults and geriatric patients. Her current role with Arrow finds her working in mental health as an advocate for prospects, residents, and families. 

Richard Wikoff was a professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska – Omaha for 29 years, co-partner in the Omaha Consultation Center, on the staff at Clarkston Memorial Hospital, and served on the county mental health board. 

Wikoff’s recommendation to others for self-care, “…is anything to improve their physical, mental, and emotional being. This is important.” Some examples he provided include eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and exercise. 

Self-care is unique to the individual and too often people don’t know if they need self-care. Some indicators that self-care is needed is if you are irritable, down on yourself, exhausted, or weary. It is difficult for people to spend time on themselves because a lack of tuning into themselves. “It’s easy to do that. Ignoring the signs,” says McGatha. “Women tend to be caregivers and they tend to give all their energy away and forget to care for themselves. Men are often busy working, out on the job. We get into these patterns or behaviors and before you know it, we have exhausted some of our resources.” 

Many people think they don’t have the time for self-care. “There is consequence of not taking care of yourself; everyone needs to take care of themselves,” stated Wikoff. According to McGatha, it is important to find that balance of being able to be busy and care for others, but also care for yourself. “When I talk to people about self-care in therapy, I often have them pick out things they used to like to do but don’t do anymore because they got so busy,” said McGatha. Some examples include painting, gardening, reading, even meditation or spirituality. The activities we do that enhance and encourage all our senses is often very replenishing and helpful. 

McGatha reminds us, “You must put yourself first sometimes. We must be first as we take care of our own health, so we can be here for other people. Take time each day to do something special for yourself. It doesn’t have to be very much. It can be as simple as sitting out in the sun for ten minutes. It’s okay to be selfish, just a little bit, every day.” 

To watch the full D&I interview:  

Saint Charles, Missouri-based Arrow Senior Living manages a portfolio of communities that offer varying levels of care, including independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Each and every senior living community supports residents by focusing on dignity, respect, and quality of life. The programs and amenities offered are selected to provide only the highest standard of quality and comfort.

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