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Imaginative, original older-adult programs highlight 2016 ICAA Innovators Awards

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(VANCOUVER, BC, January 30, 2017)--The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 ICAA Innovators Achievement Awards for excellence and creativity in designing programs for older adults.

Entries were submitted by organizations and professionals that share ICAA’s commitment to change society's perceptions of aging and improve the quality of life for older adults within seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, vocational, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social and environmental.

The ICAA judging committee assessed the many award submissions on their levels of innovation, pervasiveness, ambition, measurability and dazzle. They also looked for:

• Programs and initiatives that could be adapted by others, in part or in whole, or which sparked ideas to adapt an approach to a local situation.
• Programs that did not require payment to access or promote a commercial product.
• Submissions that included multiple types of participants, such as intergenerational, or among departments or people who were functionally able and those who were not.
• Submissions that reported outcomes, such as number of participants or partnerships or some other measure of success.

"The Innovators Awards program has always been about sparking fresh thinking and recognizing creativity in older-adult organizations that share our dedication to the active-aging lifestyle," says Colin Milner, ICAA's founder and CEO. "I'm continually amazed and encouraged by the incredible variety and success of so many programs being created lately, as exemplified by our worthy winners this year." Five winning programs were selected.

Award-winning program: Center 4 Brain Health

Submitted by: Krystal Culler, Director, Center 4 Brain Health, Menorah Park Center for Senior Living, Beachwood, Ohio

Submitted by: Krystal Culler, Director, Center 4 Brain Health, Menorah Park Center for Senior Living, Beachwood, Ohio

Description: "The Center 4 Brain Health is a non-pharmacological, non-hospital based Brain Health Center located in a senior care community," says Krystal Culler. "Our extensive programming includes classes, engagement, education, support and assessments for those concerned about memory and thinking skills, including those diagnosed and not diagnosed with brain health issues. Through direct community outreach and speaking engagements, the Center has educated nearly 1,650 community-dwelling adults on the importance of brain health and has offered continuing education credits to nearly 360 professionals from diverse backgrounds."

Culler says her initial goal was to attract 200 people in the first operational year and 400 in the second, but her organization quintupled those numbers within the first year.

• • •

Award-winning program: Five Meal Plan

Submitted by: Laura Glass, Director of Community Life and Volunteer Services, Quincy Village, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania

Awarded for: Person-centered culture change; physical dimension of wellness; program effectiveness.

Description: “This plan has truly allowed us to provide quality resident-centered care,” says Laura Glass. “We conducted research and designed a meal program that would work best for residents in nursing care.”

Instead of three traditional meals, the plan serves made-to-order meals five times a day to increase the dining experience satisfaction, decrease the amount of weight loss and better regulate diabetic spikes and drops.

“Now there are more residents than ever eating their meals in the dining room,” says Glass. “Weights have been stable. People with diabetes are educated about making appropriate decisions and enjoy all the offerings. This has been a successful and proven marketing tool within the county. Resident testimonials prove this to be the greatest success.”


Award-winning program: Healthy Aging Campaign

Submitted by: Casie Nishi, Executive Director, The Wellness Institute at Seven Oaks Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Awarded for: Community outreach; unique message focus on cost savings; use of social media; outcomes.

Description: "The campaign demonstrated the Wellness Institute initiatives supporting healthy aging have saved millions of dollars so far and have the potential to save much more as the population ages," says Casie Nishi. "Instead of focusing solely on the individual benefits of activity and healthy lifestyle choices for older adults, (we) promoted awareness of the benefits to the entire community by reducing healthcare costs. This extended approach was rolled out with social media, newspaper, email and community billboards directing people to the website, where articles aimed to start and expand the dialogue on healthy, active aging. A team from Seven Oaks Hospital met with decision-makers, political figures and community partners to explain the broader impact of Healthy Aging programs with the goals of influencing greater support for funding, improving program referrals and leading a shift towards preventative care and health promotion in the community."

Nishi points to 10,848 direct Facebook engagements with Healthy Aging posts (including likes, shares, clicks and comments). Over 24% of website visits were a direct result of email and social media links as well as display ads and paid search, and Tweet impressions rose 266% with 8,529 for the “Healthy Aging Reduces Healthcare Costs” theme alone. The Institute also won a grant to expand a warm-water therapy pool, providing 12,250 more spots in class per year.

Award-winning program: The Thrive Institute

Submitted by: Cathy Sessions, Marketing Director, Notre Dame Health Care, Worcester, Massachusetts

Awarded for: Unique multidimensional programming; outreach to the community; program outcomes.

Description: The Thrive Institute began by offering "thriving" breakfast workshops -- hour-long, free interactive workshops held monthly to help aging adults achieve their best level of wellness regardless of physical situation. Programs provide attendees with holistic health modalities that older populations are generally not exposed to, such as: Mindfulness for Stress Reduction, Win the Energy Lottery and Build Strength and Maintain Balance and Independence, Introduction to Qi Gong, the Emotional Freedom Technique and Laughter Yoga.

"The program serves 250 residents and provides free education and wellness programs for local seniors who might not have the finances to attend such courses elsewhere," says Cathy Sessions. "Such programs tend to be costly and difficult to access. Attendees have been wildly enthusiastic. After drawing 12 people to our first workshop two years ago, the program now routinely draws more than 40. Word has spread that participants are guaranteed a warm welcome, reliable and interesting health information, sociability, ideas and a healthful breakfast," says Sessions.


Award-winning program: Techy Teens, Savvy Seniors

Submitted by: Nita Wilkinson, Director of Advancement, Green Hills Community, West Liberty, Ohio

Awarded for: Intergenerational connections; organic growth fueled by teens; intellectual and social dimensions of aging.

Description: The original goal was for teens to mentor residents on smartphones, tablets, email, etc. Two teens were to meet one person or couple a month, but after three meetings, the teens asked to come more often. Technology training expanded to technology-based projects. The teens taught the residents to dance the "Whip/nae nae" and made a YouTube video of it. They held contests on social media to see who could get the most likes for their photos, created videos and attended a basketball game and pizza party. Several residents went to the teens’ grads. The final formal gathering was filled with hugs, tears and laughter. The program received media coverage and became a standard within the Logan County community of intergenerational programming. Originally offered through a weekly Coffee Connection, the program grew from about 12 people to nearly 30 at times.

"What started as a way for elders to understand technology became an intergenerational program that continues to this day with the new class of students," says Nita Wilkinson.

Each of the Achievement Award winners received a crystal award of recognition, as well as a free pass to the 2016 ICAA Conference, which took place November 17-19 in Orlando, Florida. In addition, ICAA's Journal on Active Aging will publish individual profiles of the winners in issues throughout 2017.


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 (Canada) Ministries of Health and Healthy Living and Sport.

For more information or 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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