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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.

Thriving at PSL: A resident-led special event celebrates wellness-9031

Thriving at PSL: A resident-led special event celebrates wellness

Summer 2020 challenged providers of senior living, care and aging services with pandemic concerns. While the health and safety of residents and staff were consuming issues, so too were questions of how to support their overall wellness. At Presbyterian Senior Living (PSL) in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, plans for an in-house wellness initiative moved ahead, with resident focus groups providing input as the not-for-profit developed its wellness culture. Fostering this culture is Thrive Wellness, PSL's "resident-driven approach to wellness." Launched early in 2021, Thrive Wellness "promotes a culture of wellness, engagement and purposeful living to empower all individuals to live their best lives," according to the PSL website. Key to this approach is collaboration between residents and team members and between the organization's communities. The Thrive Wellness Steering Group demonstrates that collaborative spirit, with independent-living residents, team members and community leadership all involved. In keeping with the resident-driven philosophy and the collaborative, holistic framework of Thrive Wellness, the steering group came up with an idea for a special event inspired by Active Aging Week, the annual ICAA-led campaign to promote active, engaged living, presented by Humana. The PSL initiative would have its own twists, however.


Program profiles

The Center at Belvedere: Reinventing the senior center, breaking stereotypes by Marilynn Larkin, MA-9025

The Center at Belvedere: Reinventing the senior center, breaking stereotypes by Marilynn Larkin, MA

The Center at Belvedere--or, simply, The Center--is a testament to the drive and determination of stakeholders to break stereotypes of senior centers and of what it means to be "older." The 47,000-sq.-ft. building in Charlottesville, Virginia, which recently garnered a national award from the American Institute of Architects, "is an exceptional resource for our community," says Executive Director Peter Thompson. "It demonstrates the power of collaboration among experts and community members who understand the impacts of healthy aging. The appeal of The Center is reflected in the numbers of people participating in programs on-site. Thompson commented that those numbers are up about 20% over two years ago in the former building, despite the pandemic, and without counting virtual expansion. The Journal on Active Aging caught up with Thompson in a Zoom interview to learn more about The Center's evolution and determination to serve as a model for other organizations.


Business profiles

Shift the paradigm to an employee-first workplace by Patricia Ryan, MS-9021

Shift the paradigm to an employee-first workplace by Patricia Ryan, MS

The challenge of staffing shortages within organizations focused on older adults did not happen overnight, nor did it emerge because of the COVID pandemic. Especially in senior living--that combination of real estate, services and lifestyle--staffing has been a thorny issue for leadership for many years. Staff members have also felt the pressure of too few hands for the work, or untrained and unmotivated colleagues. What the pandemic has changed dramatically is the workplace environment. Forced closures, mass resignations, illness, closed schools and burnout have changed the way people view their jobs and forced employers to rethink how they attract and retain workers. Motivated by the need to recalibrate the philosophy of employment in senior living and fine tune processes to adopt new approaches, delegates from more than 40 senior living organizations joined together at the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) Forum 2021 to develop new approaches to the staffing challenge. These recommendations also have the potential to improve hiring and retention while positively impacting the quality of life of residents and clients.


Industry development

Reframing ageist language and attitudes to influence social change by Beth Witrogen, MJ-9016

Reframing ageist language and attitudes to influence social change by Beth Witrogen, MJ

Despite global progress in identifying language that disrespects and marginalizes people by race or gender, communications around aging remain one of the last frontiers of social equality. Research shows that ageist beliefs--stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination based on age--are an insidious presence in global cultures, from greeting cards and jokes to elder abuse and economic inequity. A new study reaffirms the impact of people's beliefs about aging on health and well-being. Lead author Julia Nakamura, BS, a graduate student in health psychology at the University of British Columbia, Canada, believes that "combating ageism and reducing harmful stereotypes about aging are potential paths to improving individual aging satisfaction. In a landmark survey researched by Common Cause Australia and commissioned by the Southern Melbourne Primary Care Partnership (SMPCP) through the Victorian government, the "Framing Age Message Guide" identifies ways of communicating about older adults through a values-based community engagement approach. This guidance can aid organizations in reframing their messages for or about this population.


Culture Change

Active Aging Week 2021: Celebrating active, engaged living-8977

Active Aging Week 2021: Celebrating active, engaged living

Individuals engaging fully in life as they age--that's the long-term outcome that active-aging professionals often hope for when they host Active Aging Week. Since the annual observance launched in 2003, the wellness initiative has showcased the potential of older adults and their ability to participate fully in life's different dimensions. And every year, host organizations create low-to-no-cost activities to encourage adults 50+ to try new experiences and savor the fun, friendship and joy of participation in physical, spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, vocational and environmental wellness offerings. Through a mix of in-person and virtual programming, these organizations again enlivened their neighborhoods and communities in 2021 with opportunities to join in the week's celebrations. Active Aging Week 2021, presented by Humana, was organized and led nationally by the International Council on Active Aging. National sponsors Abbott Nutrition and Aegis Therapies/EnerG by Aegis supported the campaign, along with content providers Spiro100 and One Day University. From local hosts and sponsors to organizers and volunteers, a multitude of grassroots contributors made the initiative a highlight of early fall for older adults across North America and beyond. To give a flavor of the week, held October 4-10, the following pages share some of the activities offered.


Health promotion

SOLE-ful awareness: Incorporating barefoot training into active-aging protocols by Lawrence Biscontini, MA-8973

SOLE-ful awareness: Incorporating barefoot training into active-aging protocols by Lawrence Biscontini, MA

Lifestyles today include more time spent sitting, and people often ignore the very muscles intended to carry them through their lives--their foot muscles. The feet are the body's foundation. Healthy feet are important to proper gait and mobility, while foot problems have been linked to falls. In fact, fear of falling is consistently reported by older adults. This fear results in many individuals limiting their activities. Active-aging fitness professionals combine current research with popular activities to provide participants with the most functional approaches. Barefoot training is one such approach. Classes that regularly encourage barefoot training are offered for active older adults with the goal of improving foot stability and mobility. Some simple skills and drills that incorporate these training activities might be the right step for those who are ready to challenge themselves. By teaching and guiding participants on how to exercise their feet, professionals can help individuals take care of their feet--preserving "foot fitness" and function--so their feet can take care of them as they age.



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