The experience of growing old will look different for everyone, but presenters at Tuesday's Healthy Aging and Design workshop say among many things, it should include choices, respect, dignity and the opportunity for healthy living.
Kathleen Woodward, Ph.D., is a UW English professor and Director of the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities. She says the national spotlight must focus on the aging population, especially women who make up 80 percent of nursing home residents.
Also important in the aging process is what UW Bothell Nursing and Health Studies Professor Suzanne Sikma calls the “three Cs” -- choosing, confidence and connectedness. Sikma also says to be effective, programs serving older adults must provide a variety of perspectives and choices.
Choice of expression is the foundation of TimeSlips developed by Anne Basting, Ph.D. In her presentation, Basting described TimeSlips, which is a non-medical method that encourages individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia to use their imaginations rather than struggle to remember. When this happens, staff and caregivers engage with the individuals who experience new levels of respect and dignity.
While much of the workshop was about the aging population, Nursing and Health Sciences Director David Allen partnered with Verdant Health Urban Planner George Kosivich to lead an activity based on Blue Zones. Participants were encouraged to imagine what it would take to make the UW Bothell campus a Blue Zone - an environment that changes the context that people live and work in to allow them to make healthy decisions and ultimately live longer. If you see public art in the stairwells or hear relaxation music on the promenade, you'll know the ideas that flowed in this interactive workshop actually made their way to reality.
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