Successful Aging: A Key to Success in Today's Senior Housing and Aging Services Profession

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Senior housing professionals moving beyond bricks and mortar in creating vital successful aging communities

Senior Housing, Aging Services, & Successful Aging in the 21st Century

Aging services provider Ecumen, one of the country's largest non-profit senior housing companies, has released a new whitepaper on a key ingredient to success in senior housing and aging services in the 21st Century: successful aging.

"Senior Housing, Aging Services, & Successful Aging in the 21st Century", written by Eldr Magazine journalist Kay Harvey, comes complete with views from scholars on aging and senior housing professionals.

It begins by describing the Vitalize! Wellness Centre, which opened as part of the Ecumen senior housing community Parmly LifePointes in Chisago City, MN in November of 2007. It introduces Ecumen customers to six dimensions of wellness - physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational and spiritual.

The whitepaper includes insights from Roger L. Kahn, PhD., and coauthor with John W. Rowe, M.D., of the 1998 book titled "Successful Aging." The book, discusses results of the groundbreaking MacArthur Foundation Study, and concludes that our genes make up only 30% of our destiny, leaving a full 70% of how we age up to us.

So how have we Americans risen up to this challenge of successful aging?

Kahn now 90 and still working regularly at the University of Michigan, states that the American's progress in aging is more in what we know than what we do.

"Problems of obesity are on the increase and in the upper age range, you don't see much in the way of regular exercise," states Kahn. "Becoming a 90-year-old marathon runner, for example, is not what most of us can even aspire to be and is not necessarily what a longer and more productive and happy life has to mean."

Kahn would like to see more of a focus not just on the stories like the 90-year-old ultra-marathoner, which highlight the physical aspect of aging, but on more attainable, realistic examples of successful aging.

"Aging well takes many shapes because it's different for everyone," states Mary Cordts, Ecumen's regional director and executive director at Parmly LifePointes. "Ensuring Americans reach their aging potential means changing the way people think about aging and in many cases, that means an individual hanging onto their independent spirit and living out one's passion."

It is also key for people to understand and embrace that a person can grow at any stage of their life.

Please visit Ecumen's site to download "Senior Housing, Aging Services, & Successful Aging in the 21st Century", by Eldr Magazine journalist Kay Harvey.

About Ecumen
Ecumen (http://www.ecumen.org) is based in Shoreview, Minn., and is one of the largest non-profit senior housing, aging services and senior housing development companies in the United States. The name Ecumen comes from the word ecumenical, which in turn is derived from the Greek word for home: "Oikos." Ecumen's mission is to create home for older adults wherever they choose to live. Ecumen is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has 4,000 team members. Ecumen writes about news and ideas that are shaping the future of aging, aging services and senior housing at its Changing Aging blog: http://www.ecumen.org/changing-aging/.

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Kevin Sawyer
Ecumen
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