I recently met with Diana Silvey, Program Director at the Winter Park Health Foundation in Winter Park, Florida. (Full disclosure, Diana is a dear friend, and someone passionate about health issues facing older adults and their families)
Diana moved to Florida ten years ago to work at the Foundation in part because she valued their mission statement: to make a positive difference in people’s lives by creating the healthiest community in the U.S. Diana also values place-making, which is creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness and well-being.
She gave me a virtual tour of what will be The Center for Health and Well-being due to open in Winter Park in late 2018. This public space, inspired by nature, will feature gardens and social gathering areas. This center is the result of a collaboration between the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital, and will offer medical offices, physical therapy and rehab services, a healthy café, a teaching kitchen, and an interactive resource space dubbed the Healthy Living Experience. The Center will also be the new home of the Peggy & Philip B. Crosby Wellness Center YMCA, with plans for it to become a medically integrated fitness facility.
But those are just the overall details of this place.
Let me try to describe the vision of this space as explained by the architect, Turan Duda. A common theme of the center is the number seven. There are seven gardens ranging from a meditation grove, providing a corner for meditation and reflection, to beds of edible herbs and vegetables. Keeping with the theme of 7, the project focuses upon the Seven Dimensions of Wellness. These dimensions include:
- Intellectual wellness, being open to new ideas, creative thinking, learning and seeking out new challenges
- Physical wellness, caring for the body for optimum health and functioning
- Social wellness, building relationships with a positive social network
- Spiritual wellness, finding meaning and purpose
- Vocational wellness, seeking a career or other work that is interesting and fulfilling
- Emotional wellness, having a positive attitude, self esteem, sharing a broad range of emotions with others in a positive manner
- Environmental wellness, awareness of interaction with the environment and the community
Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). The number seven is prevalent in nature — we have seven continents, seven oceans, the rainbow has seven colors, there are even seven wonders of the world.
Not only is the number seven important to this design concept, so is the Golden Ratio. As a clay artist, I have read about the golden ratio as it relates to nature and design. Turan Duda has employed the Golden Ratio (an age-old mathematical concept) in his design of the Center for Health and Well-being. There are countless references in nature (the leaves on a tree and the spiral of the seashell) and art – The Parthenon, Mona Lisa, and the Last Supper. When followed, the effect is peaceful and calm, subliminally pleasing to the viewer/listener.
With more and more individuals seeking ways to age with vitality, this Center will be the first in the nation offering wellness, fitness, and medical care all under one roof, potentially changing lives and enhancing well-being. This space is the epitome of place-making- creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness and well-being.
I, for one, can’t wait for the opportunity to enjoy this space.
Liz Kitchens is a writer and blogger. Her blog, Be Brave. Lose the Beige, reaches out to Lady Boomers, women of the Baby Boomer generation. Liz also blogs for Growing Bolder and Vibrant Nation, two sites devoted to aging issues. Liz conducts workshops on the health benefits of creativity and is an ambassador for the Creative Caregiving Initiative sponsored by the NCCA, The National Center for Creative Aging. Liz founded the Jeremiah Project, an after school and summer creative arts program designed to foster self esteem and encourage creative thinking among at risk middle school aged students.