There’s more to wellness than meets the eye
When it comes to overall health, Social Services Director Taylor Stull Burgardt uses the seven spokes of the wellness wheel as a guide.
“The wellness wheel is a model that includes seven dimensions: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, financial, environmental, social and physical wellness,” Taylor said. “These dimensions are interconnected and important to a well-rounded and balanced well-being. Knowing the basics of this wheel helps us continuously readdress the needs of an individual so we can continue providing assistance to meet those needs.”
Awareness of those dimensions was particularly important in the past year or so, as residents and staff worked to remain healthy during a global health crisis.
“Staff has worked continuously to be a support system for each of our residents. To maintain their emotional health, staff has assisted residents in staying connected with loved ones and their friends,” Taylor said. Staff assisted in making phone calls, connecting virtually and assisting with window visits. Encouragement from staff helped residents remain hopeful that we would overcome the pandemic. Staff also encourages residents to act on activities that previously brought them joy and kept them active.”
While staff worked to care for residents, it was also important that they cared for their own well-being.
“Through the pandemic, it was very challenging for staff to hold a positive outlook themselves as fatigue and burnout became apparent.” Taylor said. “Staff was also separated from their families and unable to act upon things that bring them joy, so it was necessary for us to find support and positivity among our residents and staff.”
Part of caring for residents’ well-being relies on strong relationships, active listening, keen observations, and the sharing of thoughts and emotions without judgement.
“When residents feel more confident in vocalizing their feelings, we are able to identify any unmet needs and brainstorm how we can meet those needs and put that plan into action,” Taylor said. “Residents with higher levels of care may not be able to adequately vocalize their emotions verbally, requiring a more observational approach. Activities and interventions to enhance emotional health may also look different as capabilities change amongst residents.”
In her role as social services director, Taylor also serves as a liaison for residents, working constantly to assess needs and manage resources to best meet them. She works with residents, families and the community to advocate for the needs of residents.
“I work with staff to provide insight on how we manage a behavior to better assist in the daily functioning of residents,” Taylor said. “I also advocate for the resident in our own community to have their preferences and needs met.”
Emotional health isn’t always easy to manage, Taylor said. But it’s important for people to be aware of their needs and reach out for help.
Taylor — whose maiden name is Stull — was married earlier this year. She lives in Junction City with her husband and their two dogs. In her spare time, she volunteers with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, CASA, and the K-State social work advisory committee.
“To help regulate my emotional health, I like to go on walks with my dogs, stay connected to friends and family, and actively work on reframing my mindset to be positive,” Taylor said.