earth and spirit
Stephanie Buckland, Chief Executive Officer, Amana Living
This month’s theme in The Messenger is sustainability which has given me an opportunity to reflect on what it means to Amana Living.
The fifth mark of mission involves striving to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustaining and renewing the life of the earth. For us, this encompasses protecting the environment but also helping our staff, residents, and clients to engage with nature.
The most recent example of this in practice can be seen at the newly opened Kinross Care Community. We planned the community to create a calming environment that is connected to the landscape.
As part of the community’s overall sustainability measures, we considered the materials, water use and maintenance with the goal of reducing our resource consumption. As with all Amana Living’s care centres, solar panels are used extensively to minimise our carbon footprint, but the design and landscaping are the most impressive aspects.
Importantly the design of the building is focussed on enhancing the physical and mental health of residents through nature. We’ve used winter gardens, internal courtyards, and terraces to ensure residents have a connection with natural light, ventilation, and seasonal shifts.
This gives residents a sense of place, provides sensory and memory cues, plus a feeling of regeneration. We deliberately brought the outside in so everyone, regardless of their mobility, could interact with the gardens and feel a natural breeze.
We carefully chose plants that easily adapt to the local soil types and climate, while also providing seasonal colour, smell, and texture to enhance the experience of residents. The trees, shrubs and groundcovers are water-wise and require minimal maintenance. The outdoor gardens are also easily accessible via extensive walking paths which provide another opportunity for interaction with the elements.
The Kinross Care Community is our first development in more than a decade and it has set a benchmark for what we hope to achieve with future buildings, but also lessons we can take back to our existing care centres and villages.
We know older people and their families are increasingly concerned about how an organisation is embracing its environmental responsibilities. For example, it’s becoming one of the key considerations when buying into a retirement village.
We’re gathering feedback from residents and potential residents, and we continue to look at our options to increase our sustainability actions while focussed on improving the wellbeing of our residents and clients. Ultimately, we want to regenerate earth and spirit.