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The Journal on Active Aging brings articles of value to professionals dedicated to older-adult quality of life. Content sweeps across the active-aging landscape to focus on education and practice. Find articles of interest by searching the article archives in three ways: Enter a keyword in the articles search bar; click on search by topic; or type a keyword or phrase in the general search bar at the top of the page.

Topic- Environmental wellness

 

Nature deficit: what it means for older adults, and how to address it among your constituents by Nancy Ceridwyn, MS, MEd-2059

Nature deficit: what it means for older adults, and how to address it among your constituents by Nancy Ceridwyn, MS, MEd

Richard Louv’s seminal work, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, sparked a movement that seeks to reconnect children to the natural world, with the goal of healing emerging mental and spiritual health effects and promoting physical activity.1 In this and subsequent work, Louv takes a close look at the cultural outcomes of a generation of children growing up indoors and in smaller spaces.

But what about the effects on older adults?

While nature deficit is not a medical diagnosis, Louv sees the term as a way to think about a problem for the entire population. Although the term is not found in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, research over the past two decades on nature confirms negative effects from the loss of—and positive outcomes from engagement in—green spaces.

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Environmental wellness

Valle Verde Retirement Community wins inaugural ICAA Green Award-1835

Valle Verde Retirement Community wins inaugural ICAA Green Award

Valle Verde Retirement Community, located in Santa Barbara, California, is the winner of the first-ever ICAA Green Award, a new category in the International Council on Active Aging®’s Innovators Awards program. The Green Award, which was conferred in November, specifically recognizes organizations that encourage environmental stewardship by creating and/or implementing eco-friendly products, services, processes, designs or programs in their settings.

An American Baptist Homes of the West continuing care retirement community (CCRC), Valle Verde (www.valleverdesb.com ) has made changes that are resulting in reduced electricity use, decreased waste and increased recycling. The nonprofit community is also generating solar electricity, using reclaimed water and buying food from local farmers. A measure of its success are utility cost savings that average more than $210,000 annually.

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Environmental wellness

Access to nature boosts physical activity among older adults, saves staff time by Susan Rodiek, Ph.D., NCARB-1832

Access to nature boosts physical activity among older adults, saves staff time by Susan Rodiek, Ph.D., NCARB

On September 13, 2010, my colleagues and I were gratified to receive a professional award from the American Society of Landscape Architects at the society’s annual meeting in Washington, DC. That award, and the recognition our team has received from numerous organizations that provide long-term care to older adults, reinforced the value of the time and effort we put into developing an instrument that makes environmental evaluations of assisted living communities more quantifiable and reliable, and enables providers to compare satisfaction-related outcomes associated with physical environments.

We developed the instrument based on seven key principles that evaluate specific environmental qualities in assisted living communities (For more information, see Principles for outdoor areas that encourage resident participation on page XX). We then identified up to 10 ratable items that appeared to be the main components of each principle, resulting in a total of 63 individual items, which we used in the evaluation tool. After evaluating 68 randomly selected communities in various parts of the United States, and surveying 1,560 residents and staff, we identified a number of landscape features that were strongly associated with outdoor usage.

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Environmental wellness

Data pinpoint noteworthy trends at the intersection of green, active aging-1822

Data pinpoint noteworthy trends at the intersection of green, active aging

The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI; www.nmisolutions.com) is a marketing consulting and research firm that focuses on health, wellness and sustainability, including the Baby Boomer market and their attitudes and behaviors with respect to green products and services. NMI also developed the LOHAS [Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability] segmentation model, a way of looking at the adult green market that is being used globally (See the figure on page XX).

Broadly, with respect to Boomers, NMI has found that “consumption and possession are being replaced by sustainability and purpose, which are revealed in Boomers’ growing understanding of the fusion of personal and planetary health – that in fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.”1 How does that growing understanding translate into action, and what are the implications for the active-aging industry? ICAA’s Green Guide spoke with Steve French, NMI’s managing partner, to find out.

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Environmental wellness

Gray, green, and active: Environmental volunteerism benefits older adults and society by Karl Pillemer, Ph.D.-1818

Gray, green, and active: Environmental volunteerism benefits older adults and society by Karl Pillemer, Ph.D.

Martin Phillips volunteers many hours each month in local environmental organizations, helping to organize trail clean-ups and testing water quality in streams. His goal is to help preserve the earth for future generations, even though he will not personally see the benefits. Maria Groves volunteers as a receptionist for a nature center, noting that she enjoys the children who participate in the programs and socializing with staff and other volunteers. Janice Phelps has always loved being outside in nature; her political work on environmental issues comes from a deep attachment to the natural world, which she feels is sacred and must be preserved. John Trent is politically conservative and will tell you right away: “I’m no tree-hugger!” But he has spent a lifetime hunting and fishing and is concerned about the destruction of natural areas that used to teem with wildlife, so he volunteers to protect them.

These individuals pursue different activities and have divergent motivations. But they have one thing in common: They are part of a growing movement of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond who have become environmental volunteers, working to create a sustainable society and to conserve our natural resources. Not only do these “gray and green” volunteers help solve one of the major challenges of our time, but research shows environmental volunteering also leads to improved health and well-being of older persons. Now researchers, policy makers, and non-profit organizations are seeking ways to encourage environmental volunteering and civic engagement (EVCE) among individuals after retirement.

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Environmental wellness

How and why to get your green team together by Ken Kramer-1815

How and why to get your green team together by Ken Kramer

Since our inception in 1975, Givens Estates has understood the importance of being good stewards of our environment. One might say it was simply an unwritten philosophy. We knew environmental stewardship was important but it had never been put into writing. In 2003, we rewrote our mission and philosophy statement to include wellness, and so it only made sense to include “environmental” as one of our seven dimensions.

If you have ever read a self-improvement book, I am sure it had a section that said to write down your goals, because if you don’t you will never achieve them. We were committed to environmental wellness and we knew it had to be a part of our written wellness philosophy statement. That way, it would always be before us.

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Environmental wellness

Total items: 32

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