Day 7: Norsk Elder Wellness

Today we had our first experience at Lovinsenberg Omsorg+, an elder home for independent seniors. On this trip, we have been able to learn firsthand about Norway’s great institutional systems/structures and how they promote wellness in the community, and today was another example of Sustainable Development Goal #16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and #3: Good Health and Well-Being.

We began the day with some aerobic exercises with the staff and a (very spry) 88 year-old resident who put us to shame. We loved starting the day right off with some physical wellness (Dean Bern would be proud) and saw how the activities at the home help keep the seniors well across many areas of the wellness spectrum. We visited the roof with incredible views overlooking all of Oslo, and the plots where residents care for their own gardens.

Many of the residents were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, all living independently in their own apartments. Inger Marie, a 99 year-old woman living independently at the home, showed us her room and emphasized the importance of staying sharp as we age. She showed us pictures of her children, grandchildren, and then brought out a bag of hats she hand-knits for premature babies. She told us she’s made over 300 in the past year.

In the elder center, there are designated day rooms for residents with dementia, a big communal room for socializing, and organized activities that change daily. We happened to be there on waffle day, so shared authentic Norwegian waffles and coffee with the residents, along with many stories. There was also a pop-up clothing shop, so we had lots of fun playing fashion stylist with the residents. Many families with babies came in, because the pool at the complex was hosting baby swimming lessons, and it was sweet to see the joy both the elders and the young families shared. I went for a walk around the neighborhood with some of the residents, who told me stories of their skiing days on the mountains.

I feel incredibly honored to have shared time and space with the people we met today. I heard so many stories of the incredible life experiences of the residents, and am touched with how their lives continue to be full and rich at this institution.

Tonight we leave for western Norway and some epic fjords! We’ll be back with more updates soon.

xoxo Jeanie, Norway 22

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