December 3, 2011
SOLOMONS, Md. – Asbury Solomons has been named a winner of the 2011 International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) Innovators Award for its “Taste of America” series. The award recognizes a variety of programs that improve wellness for older adults.
According to Dennis Poremski, the community’s wellness director, the Taste of America program is a series of experiential dining events, each featuring a different region of the country. Participants experience a journey that includes “the tastes and smells of native cuisine, visual décor from the region, listening to the local music, and immersing themselves in facts and history relating to the themed topic.”
Started as part of the community’s 15th Anniversary Celebration, Taste of America has staged several outdoors events to take advantage of the community’s waterfront location — including a Dock Party that provided music and dancing, cocktails and desserts on the campus’s large pier. Some of the other events spotlighting regional foods and customs around the nation: a New England Clam Bake, a Southwestern barbecue (using a special grill where the charcoal lays above the meat) and “A Taste of Southern Maryland,” which featured the local delicacy of stuffed ham and the traditional game of corn-bag toss.
“The best part of these events is how there is no separation of residents and staff,” says Asbury Solomons Chef John Long, who accepted the award at a ceremony in Orlando. “We were all just hanging out together, enjoying the food and music, playing games and talking. Everyone was pitching in to help where they saw a need. And word spread after each event, so by the last few, people were coming up and making sure that they were on the list.”
Staff members and residents are already planning next year’s series, with a New Orleans-inspired event scheduled for February.
“Here at Asbury Solomons, we believe it is important to introduce topics and events that allow our residents to continually have new experiences and be lifelong learners,” said Poremski. “Taste of America fit that bill in a number of ways. Best of all, it provided an opportunity to engage residents we haven’t seen before out at such a gathering. It feels great to be recognized for our efforts, and knowing that we’re creating memorable events people look forward to.”
Asbury Solomons is a CARF-CCAC-accredited continuing care retirement community that is part of Asbury Communities, Inc., which provides management and support services for a system of continuing care retirement communities for older adults. Asbury Communities is ranked by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) and Ziegler Capital Markets Group’s AZ 100 as the 12th largest not-for-profit multi-site senior living organization in the country. Asbury Solomons is also a member of LifeSpan Network.
The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), an association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, has selected the winners of the Ninth Annual ICAA Innovators Awards. Recognizing creativity and excellence in active aging, ICAA’s awards program honors innovations that are leading the way, setting new standards and making a difference in the lives of older adults.