Shell Point Retirement Community offering a vibrant, warm and active lifestyle
Published in South Fort Myers Community Lifestyles August/September 2014 issue
A continuing care retirement community for individuals 60 years old and up nestled within Southwest Florida provides an abundance of amenities and programs to help guide residents on their own personal journey to better themselves.
Shell Point Resort Services and Wellness Manager Mary Franklin said although there has been recreational activities since it became a part of South Fort Myers community in 1968, it has grown throughout the years.
The community of Shell Point, located on the Caloosahatchee River, at 15101 Shell Point Blvd., Fort Myers, has 2,300 residents, is owned by the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and offers independent living and longterm care.
A new community-wide program, LifeQuest, kicked off in January 2013 and has been very successful since its inception. All of the staff has been trained on the mission of LifeQuest and the four restaurants have included a LifeQuest menu, which features healthy options.
“LifeQuest has been an amazing program for us,” Franklin said. “We have seen a lot of residents inspired to make a change.”
Since the program was such a hit for the residents, it is also offered for the 960 employees.
Franklin said with the LifeQuest program, they created a dedicated service and name that brought it to the attention of residents.
The program focuses on six dimensions: physical; educational; community and social; emotional; spiritual and natural environment. Those six dimensions are tied into everything Shell Point has to offer and is carried throughout the residents’ personal journey.
“We are not tracking anything,” she said of each of the residents’ journey. “Every person sets their own personal goals that they don’t have to share and their own personal journey towards a balance in life. That’s their MyQuest.”
Residents are provided with tools, programs and support from dedicated staff, so they can fulfill that personal journey.
One of those tools includes a LifeQuest booklet and a wellness assessment. The assessment questions help the residents take an honest look at themselves through basic and difficult questions. Once the test is finished it provides the residents with a visual of what dimensions and goals they should tackle.
“We give them a booklet to write the goals and keep notes themselves,” she said.
Shell Point publishes a monthly magazine, Shell Point Life, which highlights special programs or services, as well as an individual or group of individuals that are living the LifeQuest lifestyle.
The magazine has highlighted a couple who has lost 80 pounds combined, as well as Shell Point Singers, a group that comes together to put on three to four performances a year.
Franklin said the group was highlighted because they are working together and hitting numerous dimensions, as they practice and work towards a common goal.
The educational dimension includes the Academy of Lifelong Learning, which is offered throughout the year. There are approximately 80 programs every quarter that range from light-hearted programs, such as coffee with a neighbor that shares a unique story, to learning about computers. She said 80 percent of the programs are taught by their very own residents.
“It’s a chance for them to give and share their life experiences,” Franklin said.
Outside professors and guest speakers are also brought in to provide further information on some of the class topics.
The emotional dimension is tougher to tackle, Franklin said, due to individuals going through their own personal emotions. She said there are 10 support groups offered throughout the property that provide assistance.
“We see the support when they do go through a challenge in life,” Franklin said. “When they are engaged, they have such a big support group of friendships right here in the community.”
Some of those include a Parkinson’s enrichment group, a care-givers support group, memory care and salon and spa.
“We also have our case managers, which are there to help our residents with transitions of moving from place to place or any life issues that come up,” Franklin said.
The spiritual dimension includes the Village Church that offers weekly worship services, Bible studies and Season of Praise concerts. She said since residents represent many religious backgrounds and beliefs, the spiritual dimension embraces, strengthens and grows the residents’ own spirituality.
The physical dimension is tackled through 35 fitness classes offered every week.
Shell Point also offers Health Connection, which offers such specialty classes as balance and higher intense water classes. The new LifeQuest aquatic center has a 99,000-gallon main recreation pool, which includes two-lap lanes, a 23,000-gallon therapy pool that has an easy-access ramp and adaptable water chair.
“We also bring in outside doctors in the community here at Shell Point or the Fort Myers community to educate our residents on different physical issues,” she said. “We also have presentations by Shell Point staff on ways they can enhance their physical abilities.”
Community and social is everything fun that Shell Point offers for its residents. There are more than 60 activity groups ranging from kayaking to bridge and pinochle, which are all run by residents. There are also 21 social programs offered from going out to dinner, to holiday celebrations, bringing in musicians and hosting a weekly farmers market on property.
Shell Point also has more than 60 volunteer groups, which includes participation from more than 50 percent of its residents. Last year, 116,000 volunteer hours were turned into staff.
“Our residents themselves give themselves and it makes a strong sense of community here,” she said.
The last dimension, natural environment, is unique to Shell Point because of its proximity to the Caloosahatchee River. The community runs educational programs and classes, as well as offer garden plots that the residents maintain.
The community also offers such things as walking paths, birding groups and a photography club for the natural environment dimension.
“One of the things that makes us unique is we have our very own marina,” Franklin said, which includes the Shell Point boat Suzy Q 5.
The residents volunteer as the mates and narrators as residents and guests go out for trips on the water, while learning about dolphins, manatees and the mangroves. The boat ride also includes a lunch outing at a different restaurant.
Franklin said although they offer six dimensions of wellness and programs are offered under each one, they realize that going for a walk is truly only physical for one person, while being emotional for another.
“We try to pick the most obvious dimensions, but that is why it is such a personal journey,” she said.
The Shell Point community, Franklin said is full of active residents that are always having fun and smiling.
In addition to the community-wide program, Shell Point offers an abundance of amenities. Some of those include the Shell Point Golf Club, an 18-hole championship golf course; state-of-the-art Medical Center with full-time staff physicians; Salon and Spa Services; on-site hotel and on-site dog park.