Updated: Nov 10, 2021
What is The SeniorScape™?
In general terms, landscape is everything you can see when you look across an area of land, including hills, rivers, buildings, trees, and plants. A Business Landscape can be considered a connected representation of the most important things that make up a business and work together to achieve something of value.
SeniorScape™ is a term created to describe the body of information of importance and interest to the older adult demographic - 50 and above. Shall we refer to this as the AARP generation? This includes everything from healthy aging, and lifestyle, to brain health, financial wellness, finding the rightful place in society and oftentimes in the family, confronting and dispelling ageism, finding the right place to live at the right time of life, care choices as care needs increase, caregiving, the politics and problems of eldercare, etc. We will cover them all.
The 50 plus, specifically the 65+ population, is increasing in numbers on a daily basis, 10,000 adults turn 65 each and every day. The US Census Bureau statistics indicate that by 2035 the number of people in the population 65 and above will outnumber those under the age of 18. How will we live, how will we be cared for and who will be doing the caring?
We are beginning with Healthy Aging and Longevity, specifically Blue Zones. the places where people are living healthily to 100 years and above. We will explore their lifestyle, eating habits, and social systems, daily rituals, physical environments and living with purpose.
Food isn’t merely where it’s grown, in nutrient rich soil, far from polluted air and water. It’s also how it’s prepared, rituals that surround eating, when and with whom it’s consumed. It’s about Lifestyle. It defies some of what we think we know about starch such (i.e., potatoes) and the traditional thinking about the inflammatory properties of cheese. Ikarians in Greece have potatoes and Feta Cheese as diet staples.
In Okinawa, a land from with the longest-living women there is an exercise practice known as ikigai, translated means Purpose. In our society, in all likelihood, we do not associate exercise with “Purpose”
In Sardinia, Italy, the diet from where the longest-lived men emanate consists of soup rich in tomatoes and beans with a side of sourdough bread.
These are lands far away. But can we or take aspects from the Blue Zones around the world and incorporate them into our very own ageing well plan? Yes, we can, and we have.
There are American Blue Zones: Loma Linda California. the Iowa Blue Zone or America’s Minnesota Blue Zone Experiment. Areas of the United States that have taken the lessons from the Blue Zones around the world and made a commitment in their communities and in their lives in order to sustain healthy longevity.
In 2012 Iowa’s governor Terry Branstad issued a challenge for the residents and communities of his state to go from being ranked 19th on the list of healthy states to becoming number one.
A brief list of the state’s accomplishments includes the following.
● More than 35 grocery stores across the state added Blue Zone checkout Lanes. What is a Blue Zone Checkout Lane you ask? A lane with healthy snacks, rather than the typical tempting empty calorie sugar laden snack bars, chewing gum, chips, etc.
● Fifteen communities passed “complete street policies” enabling safe transport for motorized vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
● More than 130 restaurants added ½ sized portions and the a la carte add on items became healthy additions. This was a remedy to the American Diet Crisis which consists of fats, fried and oversized.
Minnesota selected Albert Lea, a community between 15-20,000 people to participate in the Blue zone Project. They partnered with AARP who provided $750,000 to support the initiative.
Their success included the following:
● Approximately 25% of all adults, 4,000 people, signed on to participate in one of the Blue Zone activities
● More than 50% of employers agreed to create more healthy work environments
● 100% of all children in grades 3-8 were positively impacted by at least one Blue Zone school program
● The 800 people who participated in the Blue Zone walking program accrued 37,558 miles
● More than 66% of local restaurants made changes to their menu to provide more healthy meals
● Community Gardens increased by over 50%
● Over 80 children in five schools participated in a walking school bus
Gary Fraser studied Loma Linda, California, a community of Seventh Day Adventists. As a cardiologist, epidemiologist, and Seventh Day Adventist, he has one of the best understandings of the community and its habits. His initial study examined the diet of 34,000 of people over the course of 14 years to see the impact it had on disease processes like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. He intuited that the converse were positive factors influencing longevity. He deduced there were 5 key factors, each of which added 2 years to a person’s life expectance.
● Consuming a primarily plant-based diet with small amounts of dairy or fish
● No smoking
● Maintaining a median body weight
● Eating a handful of nuts four to 5 times weekly
● Engaging in regular physical activity
The follow-up 2002 study included 96,000 men and women of from varying ethnic backgrounds. Each participant responded to a 500-item questionnaire about their health history, eating habits, physical activity, etc.
The conclusions included the following:
● Meat eating adults consumed more soft drinks, desserts, and refined grains
● They carried more body weight (meat eaters tended to carry 20 pounds more weight and died at an earlier age
The result of the study included this list of the top longevity foods consumed by Adventists:
Avocados, Salmon, Nuts, Beans, Water, Oatmeal, Whole Wheat Bread, and Soy Milk.
Can we or take aspects from the Blue Zones around the world and incorporate them into our personal ageing well plan? We think we can.
The key is finding the ways to organize your life so that healthy choices are the better choice, or the only available choice. As Thomas Clear states in Atomic Habits, “People with high self-control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It’s easier to avoid temptation than resist it.”
Whether or not you live in a community that is dedicated to adopting a Blue Zone lifestyle, you can
take steps to incorporate aspects of the Blue Zone diet into your daily life. But we can also adopt a Blue Zone Lifestyle. You can incorporate it into Your Home: Your Kitchen – Your Bedroom and Your Activities
Watch for the Next Blog Post on The SeniorScape ™ to learn how you can create your own a Blue Zone Longevity Lifestyle.