To encourage holistic wellness among our South Bay elder neighbors, through caring advisement, accompaniment and advocacy.
To become a center of excellence in promoting greater whole-person wellness, through a rich variety programs and activities centered in basic wellness education and evaluation, caring support and partnering, and passionate advocacy and solidarity.
The Community Wellness Center at First Lutheran Church and School (CWC) is being created as a part of this congregation's mission commitment to be "a caring community of Christian faith for all people." For more than 80 years
First Lutheran (FLCS) has stood as a significant partner for faith development and community outreach in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. During its long history it has developed a fully accredited parochial weekday school for grades K-8, and an award winning Early Education Center for ages infant through 4. FLCS has sponsored and partnered in a number of human service projects and programs encouraging better nutrition, literacy, cross-cultural understanding and elder advocacy. It recently completed the first columbarium in the City of Torrance as part of a comprehensive community based end of life and bereavement ministry. In 2011 FLCS initiated “Prime Timers,” the first in a growing family of Elder Support programs undertaken with its social service partner, FirstServe Community Services of the South Bay, Inc. (FS), to address the fast-growing issues of “aging in place” among seniors in the South Bay.
CWC is a direct result of the FLCS commitment to caring community and faith-based human service. Our compass statement, “Advise + Accompany + Advocate,” sums up our approach to holistic advancement and caring support for those in our community we will serve.
The first element in CWC’s mission is Advisement. People in general, and elders in particular, often find the healthcare establishment to be confusing, bureaucratic, and intimidating. The CWC will offer our neighbors a low-pressure environment for learning more about their individual healthcare needs, and in accessing community-based resources for addressing those needs. Through the efforts of a credentialed parish nurse practitioner, neighbors will receive basic diagnostic services such as blood pressure and other basic screenings. Dialogues will be opened to consider people’s current living situations, their access to healthcare services, family connections and dynamics, and personal wishes for care and treatment. Armed with the results of these assessments, the CWC will offer advice and counsel in a range of wellness areas such as home health services, personal fitness and wellness, options for healthy living, and advance directives. A range of programs and activities to support these options will be provided on the FLCS campus, and through community-based partnerships in caring.
Anyone who has spent time in an Emergency Room or medical office knows how confusing and perplexing it can be to navigate the healthcare establishment. Seniors often find themselves alone and isolated in such situations, struggling to hear and understand their treatment options, lacking the time and perspective necessary to make wise and discerning choices in the “heat of the moment.” The CWC will provide trained and perceptive volunteer companions, who will accompany persons during these crucial encounters, providing objective “listening ears,” collecting and organizing information and options, and encouraging persons to make decisions which are true to their values and in their best interests. Ongoing volunteer training and supervision will assure that these companions are able and compassionate partners in assisting people to make the best decisions about their healthcare choices and wellness options.
As important as advisement and accompaniment are in the service of people with healthcare and wellness challenges, often people need an advocate to help them seek what’s best for them in their dealings with healthcare professionals, family members, and their neighbors and friends. The CWC will develop advocacy resources, in partnership with area human service providers and agencies, to provide support structures for those in our care. Among these structures will be offering guided conversations for persons and their families when important life changes are being contemplated (e.g. home health aides, moves to adult living communities, decisions regarding treatment options, etc.). Support groups will be expanded to cover common areas of concern, such as existing FLCS/FS programs for bereaved persons, community programs for those dealing with mental illness, programs for special needs adults, and so on. In an age when many people feel there is no one to listen to them or speak for them, the CWC will provide such a listening ear and advocating voice for those whom we serve.