REDUCED RISK OF DEMENTIA
Recent research conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden indicates that remaining socially engaged and maintaining a positive outlook can help reduce the risk of developing dementia. “Our findings suggest that having a calm and outgoing personality in combination with a socially active lifestyle may decrease the risk of developing dementia even further”, as described by the studies author Hui-Xin Wang, Ph.D. The study appears in the January 20, 2009 issue of the Journal Neurology.
This leads to the question of how to help people stay socially engaged. Having hobbies, expanding interests, maintaining relationships all go a long way to staying healthy. Creating environments that positively support a persons interaction with others are vital to their health and well-being. This applies to outdoor as well as indoor settings. The value of nature cannot be over emphasized. It is one things to be able to move about your home. It is as equally as important to be able to go next door and visit with the neighbors, to walk into town to pick up groceries for dinner or to attend a social event at church or other venues.
The research validates what we know inherently know to be true. Our connection to the community positively impacts all aspects of our lives.Read more
SAVE THAT TREE
People do care about nature. We are ‘hard-wired’ to nature. The scientific term for this connection is called ‘biophilia.’ The term was popularized by the sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson in his 1984 book “Biophylia: The Human Bond With Other Species.” People subconsciously look to maintain a connection with nature and the world around us, specifically plants animals and landscapes.
There are countless stories and we can point to examples in our everyday lives. A recent story in the January-February 2009 issue of the AARP Bulletin highlights this connection. It seems that older adult residents of a Mass. apartment complex were willing to go to battle to save the life of a crab apple tree. “The Shrewsbury Housing Authority, which manages Francis Gardens, a 100 unit complex for older adults, ordered the tree cut down in September so that a dumpster could be relocated. Lee Perone, 74, and Pat Henry, 65, didn’t want the dumpster beneath their windows. Besides, Perrone says, when the tree blooms, ‘It’s the most beautiful thing – pink.’ So the pair roped chairs around the tree and staged a sit-in. Both women received eviction notices. After a local lawyer volunteered to represent them, the housing authority backed down. The tree was saved.”
People do care about nature, regardless of age and we need to be more aware of this fact. We all need to advocate
for strengthening the connection with the natural world. Creating community gardens, walking trails, bike paths and simply places to enjoy nature are so very important.Read more
COMMUNITIES MEETING THE NEEDS OF AN AGING POPULATION
The article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (1-21-09) discusses the need to focus greater attention on how we can prepare to meet the needs of an aging population. The article titled “Communities meeting the needs of an aging population” looks at NORC’s and other examples of how our communities are evolving to better address the needs of the coming age wave. The link to the article can be found at:Read more
The idea for an organic vegetable garden within the grounds of the White House seems to be gaining interest and momentum. I first heard the suggestion during a radio interview with Michael Pollan, author of ‘In Defense of Food‘, The Penguin Press in which Mr. Pollan talked about the need to return to creating of home and community gardens. The idea has been raised again, this time in the Wall Street Journal, on January 16, 2009 in the Weekend Journal. The article “Extreme Makeover: White House Edition” by Dominique Browning talks about redecorating the White house for the Obamas as well as looking at ways to make the overall residence ‘greener’.
The WSJ article suggests that “the Obamas can kick off another Victory Garden movement in America’s suburbs, but it needs a new name…try Sunshine Gardens, symbolizing a return to sustainable farm practice using a plentiful energy supply.” I would like to explore the idea further in the coming months and see where it all leads.
I think that we can and should expand on this notion. There are infinite number of possibilities as people grow their own vegetables. Backyards, front yards, balconies, roof tops, etc, are all feasible locations for raising fresh organice produce. Creating Sunshine Gardens will be good for everyone and not just in single family residences. There are opportunities to develop gardens in schools, hospitals, etc. People who want to ‘age-in-place’ will consider raising their own fresh vegetables in raised planters. The list goes on and on. This is a subject that will be explored further and actual examples of how it is being conducted today will be presented. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome.
The link to the WSJ article can be found at the following link:
The use of plants that are native to our geographical region is important for several reasons. These plants typically conserve water and in turn require less irrigation. They are hardier and less susceptible to unwanted garden pests. Native plants typically require less care and are easily adapted to the local environment. Many times they offer food and shelter for wildlife. Consideration for incorporating native plants into your garden is very important.
Most every state has a native plant society. The organization for New Jersey, as an example, is the Native Plant Society of NJ. Their web site is http://www.njnps.org and the site is full of great information. There is a speaker series on a variety of topics and interests; list of plants; sources, references and other valuable information. You can sign up for their newsletter. And there are valuable tools that can help you create native plant areas in your yard, such as rain gardens, that capture the stormwater and utilize it within your own property. As we know,
rain water can do more to provide the nutrients that plants need far better than we could ever do using the tap water from our home.Read more