There are few people more qualified to speak on the subject of active living than Colin Milner. The World Economic Forum recognized him as one of “the most innovative and influential minds” in the world on topics related to aging. As the founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, Colin Milner has led the active-aging industry in North America to better understand the importance of the health and well-being for the older adult.
Recently, Origin Active Lifestyle Communities spoke with Colin Milner about being a pioneer of the active living movement. During the interview, he provided rich and meaningful insight concerning which trends are currently and predicted to impact active living in senior living.
When asked to describe some of the trends present in active living communities, Milner spoke of “mega trends coming together” to create an exciting atmosphere for seniors. Active life longevity means more people living longer with an overall increase of health. Through growing community support and digital transformation there has been an explosion of innovative ideas.
More and more, people have expectations that services and environments are meant not only to maintain life but also cultivate possibility. As communities, like Origin incorporate new programs to target the growing Baby Boomer adults, the conversation around active living is growing to include ways that delayed dreams and aspirations can now be reached. An example would be programs geared to nurture the budding artist, or to teach the world of technology to someone who is less than tech-savvy.
According to Milner, it’s never too late to learn and explore new exciting creative experiences. The myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks has been soundly debunked. Aging adults are becoming more vocal about having previously postponed desires becoming realities.
Milner also posed the powerful question “are organizations attractive to aging adults?” He described a time when most senior living communities’ wellness program only included donated weights in a multi-purpose room. The leader of exercise classes may have been someone who volunteered to lead a simple exercise routine, with no particular experience.
Well, those days are now over. For the first time in history, the older population is spending more money on non-pharmaceutical ways to stay healthy than pharmaceuticals. Milner outlined the need for communities to make sure they are investing in wellness centers that are professionally staff and equipped. These centers need to have multiple options with both a variety of programs and classes tailored for residents living an active life.
Here at Origin, we have certainly recognized the importance of resident wellness by employing a professionally trained, full-time life enrichment team and offering a full complement of beauty and pain management services at the Evergreen Spa. Residents have the opportunity to participate in a full social calendar with many engaging activities to choose from.
When we spoke, Milner was preparing for Active Aging Week. He said that the most exciting story that he could share was that “stories are present!” There is no longer a single isolated story here and there, but a larger beautiful testimony that is being experienced and shared by daily heroes living an active life.
Through the growing membership of the International Council on Active Aging, he hears exciting accounts of active living from all over North America and beyond. Milner stated that “25 years ago you would be hard pressed to find research and stories about aging adults. but now there is a proliferation of stories and research.”
The industry conversation has shifted away from coddling older people and viewing them as fragile – to active seniors now taking the center of the conversation about maintaining active living for all ages.
Origin is an active participant in the International Council of Active Aging and maintains a close business relationship with Milner. Our founder, Neil Prashad, met Colin while they were both beginning their careers and have spent time sharing their triumphs and trials. When asked about Origin Active Lifestyle Communities, Colin said, “I’m impressed with the communities that have been built! Origin delivers on what has been promised, which is a better quality of life.”
We want to say a resounding THANK YOU to Colin Milner for his ongoing work through ICAA to champion the cause of active living for all ages. Origin believes that there is no time like the present to live actively at any age. Visit our communities to discover how we have created exciting communities and opportunities for you to enjoy.