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ICAA Names Inverness Village Innovator of the Year

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Wellness Program Modeled on "Blue Zones" Research

We’re proud to announce that the International Council on Active Aging has named Inverness Village a 2014 Innovator of the Year for its wellness program modeled on Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. 

The community’s program was created to help residents live stronger. It focuses on nine common denominators Blue Zones author Dan Buettner uncovered while researching areas around the world where people live longer and with less chronic disease, illness and disability.

As Inverness' leadership team read Blue Zones, they began to think, "Could we make our retirement community a Blue Zone?"

Inverness Village’s take on Buettner’s research began in January with an introduction to the Power of 9. Attendees sipped red wine and tasted the traditional foods of the Blue Zones. The nine lessons were introduced over three months throughout all levels of living at Inverness Village with the goal of resident’s slowly integrating them into their personal lifestyles.

These are just a few of the programs included:

  • Hara Hachi Bu - A 2,500 year old mantra Okinawans say before meals to remind them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.  Table tents with the 80 percent rule were placed at all dining tables to encourage residents to stop eating when they were no longer hungry.
  • Purpose - America is one of the few cultures with the word retirement in its vocabulary. Blue Zone cultures focus on ikigai, translated to “why I wake up in the morning.” Having purpose is shown to add to life expectancy. The chaplain created a special presentation, “Rethinking Your Sense of Purpose: Re-Engaging Your Sense of Meaning,” and focused on purpose during vespers and worship services.
  • Move Naturally - Movement stations that encouraged sit-to-stands were placed at elevators and in common areas to nudge residents to add intentional movement into their day.
  • Plant Slant - Blue Zone meals were made available on menus at all dining venues and a Meatless Monday was incorporated. Health Center residents enjoyed creating a greenhouse.
  • Right Tribe - Social circles that support healthy behaviors are shown to increase longevity. Inverness intentionally promoted – and continues to promote – involvement in the many social, fitness and volunteer groups that exist here.
  • Loved Ones First - a Loved Ones Luncheon invited spouses, friends, neighbors or someone special to share what linked them together. Skyping, Facebook, and text messaging lessons were also provided to help residents stay connected with family.
  • Belong - Regularly participating in faith-based activities is a strong predictor of longevity. Seasonal series, Bible Study and services with topics entitled Useless Baggage, Shadows We Carry, and When the Wine Fails, were introduced to increase participation.
  • Down Shift  - The world’s longest-lived people find ways to shed stress. Group Tai Chi Chih, Happy Hours featuring red wine and laughter clubs helped residents down shift.

"The Prevention, Wellness and Recovery team at Inverness Village is honored to have received the ICAA innovators award," says Wellness Director Jana Headrick. "This solidifies the intention and dedication to providing programs that are a gateway to fulfillment for each of the dimensions of wellness."

Inverness Village's sister community Asbury Methodist Village, located in Gaithersburg, Md., was another 2014 ICAA Innovator winner for its Brain Waves brain fitness course. The ICAA is an organization committed to expanding supporting and promoting active-aging industry, focusing on professionals who develop wellness environments and services for adults over 50. Last year, just five programs were honored with an ICAA Innovator Award.

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