Date: May 4th, 2006
At 65, Haldeman is an avid cyclist and competitor in the Senior Olympics and has been athletic and active his entire life. But to Haldeman, wellness means much more than just physical fitness. It means holistic wellness that incorporates not only the body, but also the mind and the spirit. While it does involve physical fitness, it strengthens much more than the muscles.
Cycling, for example, is just one of the many sports that he shares with his family members of all ages. While family exercise keeps him physically active – it is the connections that make it special. “It’s a lot of fun when you can go out and be active with your grandchildren,” says Haldeman. “That interaction is all part of the fun of it.”
Spirit, mind, and body
Haldeman first encountered the concept of holistic wellness early in his career as the director of community development services at his local YMCA, an organization that continues to emphasize “healthy development of the spirit, mind and body.” Now he is president of an organization that takes a comprehensive approach to senior health, helping people prolong their independence and stay in their own homes longer.
The company, Coventry Resources, has developed continuing care retirement communities and provided long-term care insurance since the 1980s. Additionally through its wellness program, Coventry links its members with coordinators who help them evaluate their health across six dimensions—physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and vocational—and develop plans to improve in all of these areas. The goal being to prolong functional abilities as long as possible.
While it may sound complicated at first, the truth is that it’s easy to find connections between physical activity and the other many dimensions of wellness, Haldeman says. For instance, a regular tennis date with friends has both a social and a physical component. Haldeman also saw this connection when he worked with a program where professionals exercised over their lunch breaks, finding it easier to concentrate and perform their jobs once they returned to work.
A type double-A personality
When he talks about his company and the philosophy behind the things they do, Haldeman sounds pretty persuasive. This is typical, says his brother-in-law, Pieter DeSmit, who describes Haldeman as a “type double-A” personality. “When someone gets him going on a topic he’s engaging in or directing energy toward, he’s more than willing to share,” he said. “He will pull them right into that energy sphere.”
DeSmit describes Haldeman as someone who has always lived his life with a sense of purpose, and that purpose has long involved an interest in the options available to seniors. As an attorney, Haldeman served as General Counsel for a number of continuing care communities, and worked with organizations such as the American Association of Homes for the Aging and the Maryland Association of Not-for-Profit Homes for the Aging.
And now that Haldeman is nearing retirement age himself, DeSmit sees no signs of him foregoing the work that gets him out of bed in the morning, any time soon. “He believes that our lives are not to be put on the back burner at this point,” he said. “We still need to contribute in some way to society.”
For his part, Haldeman says retiring is something he might do—some time in the next ten years or so. In the meantime, there is still work to be done and competitions to win. “I’ve got a couple of sons I can still whip at a couple of things,” he said. “When you leave that, it’s all downhill.”