What's new: Unlocking the future: Closing the gap between consumer expectations and community offerings in senior living report.


The wellness moment

The New Year is upon us. Where do we go from here?

The easy answer is "more of the same." Yet, for many, the status quo has disappeared as an option given the unrelenting and unforgiving pace of change we face today. So, where do we go from here?

I believe 2018 will be a tipping point, as more organizations and communities recognize that wellness is more than a schedule of programs and amenities–it's a way of life. To embrace this way of life calls for a shift that moves us from a focus on doing to one of being. Put another way, it's all about culture.

In the 20 years in which I've dedicated myself to active aging, I've witnessed organizations and communities that serve older adults evolve significantly in how they view, define and support wellness. A real range exists in terms of where groups are in their wellness development. But, as an industry, we are at the point where the "return on investment" question is no longer about a physical space or program, but about how we engage with residents or members.

What do I mean? Questions about ROI now consider how each element of an organization will impact the health, wellness and quality of life of residents or members, and not simply whether to staff a center or program a space. From individuals living a balanced life, to organizations or communities embracing wellness in every department and space, the impact of the wellness culture will become more pervasive. Still, many groups have yet to recognize that, rather than being about things, wellness is about experiences that enable us to live a better quality of life.

With changing notions of wellness ROI, wellness is going beyond the center. Many organizations and communities are moving–or are on the verge of moving–to an organization-wide focus on wellness. To help groups navigate this process, the International Council on Active Aging® will deliver a new educational offering, the Leadership in Wellness Management Certificate course, in March 2018.

Organizations and communities need wellness leaders with the right skill set and knowledge to support their missions and their wellness goals. ICAA's certificate course was created to ensure professionals have the right competencies and knowledge to support a move to a culture of wellness. Our aim is to ensure that you and your team gain the guidance needed to manage this process across the organization.

This is only the start. The wellness culture will be at the heart of the ICAA Conference and Trade Show 2018, to be held October 18–20 in Long Beach, California. Keynote speaker Joseph Coughlin, PhD, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of MIT AgeLab, will join more than 100 industry leaders at the event to inspire and inform attendees eager to "Ignite your culture of wellness."

Coughlin is the author of The Longevity Economy: Inside the World’s Fastest Growing, Most Misunderstood Market, a new book from Public Affairs Press. Readers may recall that I interviewed the professor for the Journal on Active Aging® earlier this year. That interview was among my most stimulating conversations of 2017, so if you have yet to read the two articles that resulted, I encourage you to do so for his insights. ICAA members can freely access the articles "The expectations gap" (March/April issue) and "Is transcendent design the future of senior living?" (September/October issue) in the "Articles" archives at http://www.icaa.cc.

Moving forward, ICAA will keep an ongoing focus on the wellness culture. We encourage you to embrace this moment, too, as the culture of wellness pervades not only active-aging settings, but also society. To help spread the message, Active Aging Week 2018 will promote the theme, "Inspiring wellness." This annual celebration of aging and living well takes place September 23–29, offering the perfect wellness gateway for individuals whose goal is improved quality of life.

Author: Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging®

Note: This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from research. The view expressed here are not necessarily those of the ICAA, we encourage you to make your own health and business decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified professional.


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