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2015 press releases

ICAA recognizes innovative wellness programs

Recipients of the annual Innovators Awards offer fresh approaches that support active aging

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[Vancouver, BC. September, 2015]—Five outstanding programs have won a 2015 ICAA Innovators Achievement Award, which honors excellence and creativity in active aging. Presented by the International Council on Active Aging®, a professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, the ICAA Innovators Awards recognize those in the industry who are leading the way, setting new standards, and making a difference in the lives of older adults. The Achievement Award category showcases programs and concepts that advance active aging. Eligible offerings can target any or all of the seven dimensions of wellness—social, emotional, vocational, spiritual, intellectual, physical and environmental. Winning entries also highlight people’s potential to live well at any age.

“The active-aging industry continually evolves as its members come up with fresh approaches to support wellness in all areas of life,” comments Colin Milner, ICAA’s founder and CEO. “As a showcase of achievements in active aging, the ICAA Innovators Awards program has drawn attention to 87 programs, products and environments since its launch, including this year’s winners. Recipients may differ in their approaches and areas of focus, but their excellence and creativity are consistently inspiring.” Milner congratulates the 2015 Innovators Achievement Award winners, adding that “ICAA is proud to spotlight their models of success.” The association thanks everyone who entered this year’s awards contest. Submissions demonstrated the quality and diversity of cutting-edge efforts by those dedicated to promoting wellness for adults 50 years of age or older.

The 2015 ICAA Innovators Achievement Award recipients include:

The Benchmark Film Festival
(Submitted by Benchmark Senior Living, Wellesley, Massachusetts; www.benchmarkseniorliving.com)
The Benchmark Film Festival engaged assisted-living, memory-care and independent-living residents in 48 participating Benchmark Senior Living communities in a celebration of song and dance. Each community created a music video with residents and associates and, if they wished, included volunteers, families and interns. Residents chose the song, held rehearsals, created props, collaborated with associates and volunteers to film and edit their video, plus held a premiere. According to Director of Programs and Engagement Krystee Ryiz, “This is a program that made anyone who participated laugh, cry, smile and fill their heart with joy!”

BLOOM (Bringing Life Optimizing Opportunities Mainstream) initiative
(Submitted by Sunnyside Retirement Community, Harrisonburg, Virginia; www.sunnyside.cc)
Sunnyside Retirement Community created the BLOOM initiative to educate residents on the dimensions of wellness and support them in pursuing a higher level of personal wellness. BLOOM began as a seven-month initiative, but evolved into a dynamic approach to wellness and culture change. A wellness dimension was spotlighted and showcased each month through “acts of wellness” challenges, book recommendations, inspirational quotes, programs, speakers, and more. “The enthusiasm and momentum created from BLOOM has continued to inspire an amazing wellness culture on our campus,” reveals Wellness Director Annie Shaffer.

Steady & Sharp Brain Carnival
(Submitted by Steady For Life, Huntsville, Alabama; www.steadyforlife.org)
Inspired by Brain Awareness Week, Steady For Life’s Brain Carnival featured 10 hands-on learning activities that attendees could participate in during the three-hour event. Attendees received a punch card upon entry and were encouraged to collect 10 punches by visiting all the activity booths to be eligible for a drawing of health-related items and media. Activities included mindfulness meditation, legacy writing, sensory art, cha-cha dancing, coloring mandalas, Haiku writing, aromatherapy, seven words of wisdom, juggling and drumming. Balance, Fitness & Yoga Instructor Sheila Levenhagen notes that the Brain Carnival “has been partially responsible for providing a platform to educate the public of the benefits of active aging—with enjoyment!”

Wellness Works employee program
(Submitted by Freedom Senior Management, Sarasota, Florida; http://freedomsenior.com)
Freedom Senior Management embraces employee wellness as essential to promoting resident wellness, among other things. Launched two years’ ago, the Wellness Works program seeks to “inspire and support employees in choosing healthy lifestyles in order to achieve the highest level of well-being in mind, body and spirit.” A Wellness Champions committee leads the way, providing education and resources. Today, employees benefit from such things as an annual wellness fair, fun wellness challenges, free gym memberships, and an employee lunch menu with reduced costs for healthier offerings. Organization Development Manager Jennifer Walker states, “Our commitment to employee wellness has become part of our company culture and vital in meeting our corporate vision: ‘We empower every person to celebrate life at its best.’”

Clermont College of Creative Life
(Submitted by Christian Living/Clermont Park, Denver, Colorado; www.clermontpark.org)
The idea of transforming Clermont Park’s campus into a college originated with a resident. Clermont College of Creative Life began in June 2014 as a way to enhance the community’s culture of unity, lifelong learning and successful aging. Over the college trimesters, residents, family members and employees used their skills, knowledge and abilities to teach courses. More than 240 participants attended courses for the year 2014–2015, and 66 residents accumulated sufficient credits to graduate in an August ceremony. Success has led to the college’s ongoing development. “We hope this model will be adapted by other communities as an alternative to the traditional and, in many cases, institutional paradigm of enrichment/wellness,” comments Director of Community Life Moriah Bernhardt.

Each Achievement Award winner received a crystal award of recognition, as well as a free pass to the 2015 ICAA Conference, held November 19–21 in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition, ICAA’s Journal on Active Aging® will publish individual profiles of the winners in issues throughout 2016.

According to ICAA’s judging panel, the entries to the 2015 Innovators Awards contest reflected notable trends that included:

• multiple references to wellness committees, some exclusive to older adults and others composed of older adults and staff;
• more frequent mentions of resident involvement in instigating or participating in an activity in senior living communities;
• fresh approaches to creating inclusive options for people at different levels of physical and cognitive ability, done in an inclusive, nonjudgmental way; and
• outreach to the larger community by using outside providers or partnering with vendors.

To choose the winners, the judges evaluated submissions using 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?

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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 who 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 categories that include, among others, the ICAA Innovators Achievement Award, for programs and concepts that advance active aging. 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, a professional 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 life 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, including 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.

For questions:

Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595

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