Heights business offers holistic healing
Since 2010, Heights resident and Observer contributor Judith Eugene has been teaching yoga, arts and holistic healing to older adults and people with disabilities. “I love it. I love every day that I wake up and get to do this,” reflected Eugene.
Originally, the Loving Hands Group was a solo enterprise. Eugene then found that she wanted to offer a broader scope of services, to include massage therapy and the fine arts. Currently the studio has five additional instructors who are dispatched throughout the community, teaching adaptive classes that range from cooking and henna art to fiber arts and flower arranging. The company also offers supportive classes and services for caregivers.
The Loving Hands Group provides group and individual services. Group services are offered at senior centers and other gathering places, such as Anytime Fitness Center in University Heights. The yoga class at that venue includes a mix of club members and individuals with disabilities. Eugene loves bringing together populations that might otherwise not cross paths. “It’s a wonderful dynamic,” she said.
Individualized services typically take place at the client’s residence. “We work with the hobbies and interests they currently have or had in the past,” said Eugene. The goal of these individualized sessions is to give people a sense of purpose, “something to wake up for.” Activities allow the client to have as much choice and self-control as possible.
Clients gain mobility and artistic expression, and many thrive emotionally through the programming. Staff observe that clients seem more empowered and optimistic. Loved ones and guardians build connection with the staff, as well, often contributing ideas to help engage the client. For example, when one client’s guardian mentioned a former interest in gardening, Eugene arranged several sessions to work with potted plants and to install a bird feeder outside the client’s window at the nursing home. This positive engagement resulted in the client becoming more social and less isolated.
Eugene did not always work in human services. Born and raised in Cleveland Heights, she attended Kent State University. From there, she went on to a career in architecture and interior decorating during 22 years in New York City and Washington, D.C. “When my mom passed away, that changed my perspective,” Eugene said. She didn’t want to wait until retirement to give back to society. Inspired by a friend who used photography to give back to nursing home residents, Eugene decided to return to her hometown and commit full time to doing what she loves—the arts and holistic healthcare—while helping people and making a living.
“It’s a win-win-win situation,” said Eugene. Learn more about available services and classes at www.lovinghandsgroup.com.
Mostly a mom, Shari Nacson, LISW-S, is a freelance editor, child development specialist and nonprofit consultant who makes her home in Cleveland Heights. More than anything, Nacson is inspired by kids and adults who build connection through kindness.