The Albin Polasek Museum & Scripture Garden in Winter Park will provide older adults with opportunities to exercise, socialize and thrive thanks to a $9,625 grant awarded by the Winter Park Health Foundation through its Older Adults Work Group.
With the grant, the museum plans to develop exercise, meditative and horticultural therapy programs to promote wellness among older adults, including the creation of a 2,000-step garden path to allow for self-guided tours, lakeside Tai Chi lessons, and a combination hands-on and lecture gardening education series.
The 2,000-step garden path, approximately one mile in length, will create an opportunity for older adults to walk the Polasek property as part of their exercise regimen. While the path can be used for purely physical benefits, it can double as a “meandering” path for older adults who are more interested in deepening their spirituality by spending time reflecting in the garden. The path will include inspirational quotes designed to prompt visitors to see the beauty of nature as a means of getting in touch with one’s soul and refreshing the spirit.
Tai Chi has many health benefits including reduced blood pressure, increased bone density, greater leg strength, enhanced flexibility and improved immune function. Weekly lessons will be offered lakeside to seniors interested in participating in this “meditation in motion” experience.
The gardening education series will consist of 34 classes (spread over 10 months) and include lectures as well as hands-on opportunities to propagate plants, work in the victory garden, preserve garden vegetables, share healthy recipes, save seeds, etc.
While the programs–due to begin in January 2010–will be promoted in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville, they will be available to others as well. The lakeside Tai Chi lessons may have a modest fee, but the other activities will be free. Participants won’t need to pay a museum admission fee to participate.