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Innovator award winners

The ICAA Industry Innovators Awards program honors excellence and creativity in the health and wellness field. By recognizing organizations that have created cutting-edge wellness programs, the ICAA highlights these innovative solutions for industry leaders and governmental organizations to learn from.

Recipients of The ICAA Industry Innovators Awards work on inspiring, new directions in older adult wellness. These award winners not only give us a glimpse into the trends shaping the futures of older adult health and wellness, they also give us hope that it is possible to solve the inactivity problem.

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.

The 2015 ICAA Innovators Green Award recipient is:

Meridian Village--recognized for its Table-to-Garden recycling process and two other recycling initiatives(Submitted by Meridian Village, Glen Carbon, Illinois; http://lssliving.org/communities/meridian-village)

Meridian Village, a Lutheran Senior Services community, has implemented three recycling initiatives since September 2014, according to Executive Director Colleen Bottens. Single-stream recycling has reduced sorting efforts, leading to increased recycling—with a full 56,854 lbs. of recyclables collected between September 2014 and September 2015. Efforts are succeeding to replace Styrofoam with reusable and biodegradable containers. Bottens notes that residents continually bring reusable containers to meals to use for leftovers, which helps to minimize the number of biodegradable containers that dining services uses for food take-away and delivery. And a table-to-garden recycling process completes the table-to-food waste-to-compost-to-garden-to-table circle. The community’s garden, with organic composting and a worm farm supported by food waste from the restaurant kitchen, provides herbs, fruits and vegetables for the kitchen and residents. Various efforts to implement and continue recycling initiatives have involved Meridian Village’s residents, Recycling Committee, recreation coordinator, and dining services director and staff.

Click here to view award winners from 2014

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