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ICAA celebrates five programs with its 2014 Innovators Achievement Awards

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Awards showcase excellence and creativity in older-adult wellness

(VANCOUVER, BC)—The International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA), a professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, has selected five programs as recipients of it 2014 ICAA Innovators Achievement Awards, which honor excellence and creativity in older-adult wellness. Presented annually in three categories, ICAA’s Innovators Awards recognize those in the industry that are leading the way, setting new standards, and making a difference in the lives of older adults. The Achievement Award focuses on programs and concepts that advance active aging. Eligible offerings target any or all of the seven dimensions of wellness promoted by the association—social, emotional, vocational, spiritual, intellectual, physical and environmental. This year’s winning submissions show the potential of older adults to live actively and as fully as possible and to continue to grow and contribute to their communities. The award recipients include:

Go BLUE: Live STRONGER (Inverness Village, Tulsa, Oklahoma)—Inspired by Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones and customized to this life care retirement community’s resident population, the Go BLUE: Live STRONGER campaign focused on integrating nine common denominators of aging well into people’s lives over a semester, including through purposeful activities within multiple wellness dimensions. The campaign’s success led to requests for additional semesters.

• Brain Waves (Asbury Methodist Village, Gaithersburg, Maryland)—Combining learning and experiential activities, this continuing care retirement community’s eight-week course explores the brain, how it functions, and how to maximize brain health with age. A final project challenges participants to research a new topic or learn a new skill, then make a formal presentation to the Brain Waves class. Course information is shared with the greater community.

ECG Good Samaritan Outreach Program (Atria El Camino Gardens, Carmichael, California)—This independent seniors housing and assisted living community’s volunteer program supports residents in making a difference. People with different skills and functional abilities participate by, among other things, providing visits, meals and friendships to older adults in the community-at-large, preparing box lunches for homeless individuals, and crocheting, knitting or sewing items for people in hospital.

Walking Bingo (Peoples Health, Metairie, Louisiana)—A Medicare Advantage organization, Peoples Health provides healthcare services and supports healthy aging. To motivate people to get active, a company wellness coordinator and a Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks employee created Walking Bingo. Players walk at a set pace, passing stations around an indoor track to learn letter/number combinations and complete bingo cards. They enjoy the game and socialize while walking.

Attitude of Gratitude Program (Oak Harbor, Vero Beach, Florida)—A two-month program encouraged residents of this senior living community to be more grateful for the smallest experiences of daily life. Activities incorporated a positive approach—for example, jokes and laughter during group exercise, smiles and silent thanksgiving in meditation class. Among the outcomes, participants were motivated to “pay it forward,” helping neighbors and performing small services for strangers.

“For more than a decade, our Innovators Awards program has showcased achievements in active aging,” says Colin Milner, ICAA’s founder and CEO. “It is inspiring to see the active-aging industry continue to raise the bar each year with fresh, creative approaches to help older adults improve their health and well-being. This year’s Achievement Award winners show that all kinds of opportunities can effectively promote wellness. From gentle efforts that foster positive thinking and goodwill, to a comprehensive campaign that encourages aging well, participants reap the benefits with fuller, more vibrant lives. On behalf of ICAA, I congratulate the winners of this year’s Innovators Achievement Awards and applaud their efforts.” Milner also thanks all who entered the awards contest, adding that “the breadth and quality of submissions was a credit to the industry.”

Each Achievement Award recipient will receive a crystal award of recognition at the 2014 ICAA Conference, held November 13–15 in Orlando, Florida, as well as a free pass to the event for an organizational representative. The winners will also be individually profiled in ICAA’s flagship publication, the Journal on Active Aging®, in 2014.

The Innovators Awards judging panel faced a challenging task in choosing the 2014 award-winners as there were so many worthy submissions. Chief Operating Officer Julie Milner, who chairs the awards review process, says she wishes everyone could receive an award. “Each submission shows that people are doing something, whether big or small, to promote health, wellness and quality of life for older adults—everyone is trying.”

Of note, this year’s submissions reflected several interesting trends:

• more activities and programs that were developed and delivered with or by older adults
• integration of multiple dimensions of wellness
• social interaction, both among older adults and their families, as well as children, groups and others in the greater community
• group development and execution of arts programs
• participation by staff members and volunteers who are not formally part of the “wellness” function

When choosing Achievement Award recipients every year, the ICAA judging panel uses the following criteria:

Innovative. Is the program/initiative/plan different than what is currently being done in the field? Or, does it take a standard procedure and add an interesting new angle?
Pervasive. Does the program/initiative/plan expand into a comprehensive approach that engages an entire organization or community?
Ambitious. Does the program/initiative/plan break new ground, achieve a stretch goal or represent a paradigm shift?
Measurable. Are there specific actions, numbers or other measures that demonstrate success?
Dazzling. Does the application contain information that is so unique or powerful that the judges respond with great appreciation?

The judges also consider the purpose of the awards, which is to share models of success that others can borrow and build upon, as well as the reach of the program, the dimensions of wellness, and the participation level of older adults.

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About the ICAA Innovators Awards program
Website: www.icaa.cc/awards.htm
The ICAA Innovators Awards honor those in the active-aging industry that are leading the way, setting new standards and making a difference in the lives of older adults. Established in 2003, this awards program showcases excellence and creativity in three categories: ICAA Innovators Achievement Award, for programs and concepts that advance active aging; ICAA Innovators Practical Solutions Award, for creative products and services for active older adults; and ICAA Innovators Green Award, for environmental wellness efforts. By recognizing cutting-edge programs, products and environments as well as those who developed them, ICAA highlights wellness solutions for industry leaders and governmental organizations to consider.

About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
ICAA, an association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, supports professionals who develop wellness facilities, programs and services for adults over 50. The association is focused on active aging, an approach to aging that helps older adults live as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness; and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies. These include the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada's Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport, among others.

For interviews or more information about ICAA, the ICAA Innovators Awards, or aging-related issues, contact:

Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America only)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595
E-mail: colinmilner@icaa.cc

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