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Meet Hollie: Wellness Therapist and Trainer

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Hollie Gilbert is PegagsusLife’s Wellness Therapist and Trainer and works across the developments Chapelwood in Wilmslow, One Bayshill Road in Cheltenham, Steepleton in Tetbury, Belle Vue in Hampstead, 23a Leyton Road in Harpenden and The Vincent in Bristol to arrange the array of Wellness programmes which owners can enjoy.

We caught up with her to find out more about Wellness and her role.

There is so much talk nowadays about ‘wellness’. How do you define wellness?

Wellness is hard to define in a sentence. It’s about living a happy healthy life and whatever that means to you individually. It’s not just about classes like yoga or Tai Chi or having treatments, it’s different things to different people. For one owner, it could be about moving freely without pain or being able to walk up a hill again, for someone else wellness could be about regaining lost confidence in social situations and to be able to make vital social connections again without feeling anxiety. This can be common if you’ve moved from living alone in an isolated large house.

Wellness to others is to finally have time to themselves after a busy and stressful life. It’s not just about the wonderful spa and treatment facilities, though they can be a fantastic route to a wellness goal, it’s as much about the communities at each development. The social events and areas are all part of wellness too.

Why is wellness important in later life?

Wellness is important to help people find the tools to get the most out of their retirement. Wellness therapies can improve sleep, relaxation, confidence and help with respiratory or joint problems. Many of our owners suffer with arthritic joints or may have had a hip replacement so regular use of the hydrotherapy pool can alleviate aches and pains. In turn that helps with mobility which can help with feeling confident about getting out and about again. Issues like loneliness or the effects of a stroke are big problems, so moving to a community with access to social activities, classes or workshops is vital in helping to regain confidence and feel encouraged to form relationships and take part again. Using a sauna can help a heart condition and steam rooms are good for respiratory problems. Whether it’s a wellness workshop on essential oils to promote sleep, classes to help with balance or regular hydrotherapy, each element has a knock-on benefit.

Talk us through some of the wellness activities and programmes you’ve devised?

I teach Tai Chi at all of the PegasusLife developments I work at. There is also Pilates and yoga. We create local relationships with Personal Trainers who can come in on the fitness side. We also have a portfolio of wellness workshops including breath work, so looking at breathing methods like diaphragmatic breathing to help with panic attacks, skin care and healthy inside out which looks at how food affects the body. We have to be quite organic and responsive to the residents and accommodate their needs and interests. I’m there day to day to put it all into practice.

Are there certain treatments which you would recommend?

It depends, one of my owners who is in her 90’s feels so much more confident after she’s had her nails painted when her family come to visit. For her looking good makes her feel good. It’s such a personal thing, a simple beauty treatment for one person can be a huge benefit.

Massage and reflexology is a great all-round treatment to help with muscle pain, stiffness, relaxation whilst aromatherapy massage can be tailored to by using certain oils to address a specific issue. Treatments can positively impact individuals in many ways. Sometimes it’s the simple fact of physical touch that can be hugely important.

The facilities often bring the generations together which is a huge benefit to wellness. One lady’s granddaughter came for a spa treatment which they both loved, and we showed the rugby in one of the owner’s lounges where one of the owner’s grandson joined him to watch.  

Finally, could you tell us a little about your background and career in wellness?

I always wanted to be a beauty therapist. My mother was a hairdresser and I used to go with her to client’s houses when she cut their hair. I trained as a beauty therapist and worked in and managed a spa. I’m a qualified beauty trainer and travelled around the world training therapists. I worked for Aroma Therapy Associates as their European Trainer for their products, which we use at the PegasusLife developments. I was asked to come to Chapelwood for the launch event and loved the place so decided I really wanted to work there so when PegasusLife’s Wellness Consultant got in touch to find out if I knew anyone who might be interested in this role, I jumped at the chance. The owners are such a lovely generation of people to be around.

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Surround yourself with a friendly community by considering a PegasusLife home. With a range of wellbeing facilities and sociable communal lounge spaces, our apartments and homes offer you a lifestyle that ensures they are a great place for you to live a happy healthy life.

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