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Sustainable Living in Aged Care by Cath Manuel

27 March, 2019

The word sustainability is used quite commonly to generally describe the way we live and exist in the world. A few definitions are:

Sustainability: the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.

Environmental Sustainability: the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. [Ref: www.dictionary.com]

The simple definition that sustainability is something that improves “the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems”

[Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability]

When we look at human life, a description could be our lifestyle or the way we live. If we consider our impact on the earth, we are looking at eco or enviro sustainability and how the environment can sustain the lifestyle that we all live. When we give consideration to our own lifestyle and how we can sustain a life that is enhancing our overall wellbeing, while reducing the impact we have on earth, we can call this ‘sustainable living’.

Younger generations are now aware of the impact that previous generations had on the environment, most actions being unintentional. Some actions have significant impacts on humans and the world, others have minimal consequences that can be reversed or removed.

When considering the awareness of our older population on sustainability and the environment most would be inclined to reduce their environmental footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle, for themselves and for future generations.

So what would sustainable living look like in aged care?

Through my free program ’14 Day Sustainable Lifestyle Challenge’ I encourage participants to try 14 simple lifestyle tasks that help to make a difference to their life and our world.

All of these tasks could easily be adopted into aged care homes, for residents and staff to live in a sustainable way.

Here’s a few ideas;

  • Create an eco home by reducing chemicals used in homes and in gardens
  • Reduce waste going to landfill by setting up a recycling or compost system.

Within many aged care homes a simple compost bin system has been established within the kitchen gardens.

At Noosacare Carramar, on the Sunshine Coast, a small plastic bin has been placed in the garden for residents to place garden clippings, flowers, some weeds and leaves from the garden. All items are gathered during the therapeutic gardening activities.

  • Give yourself some self care – enjoy time with friends, walk in nature, attend a group activity or enjoy craft, reading or gardening
  • Grow some of your food – try microgreens and fresh herbs.
  • Install water tanks for use in bathroom, laundry and garden
  • Donate unused items to a local charity shop
  • Spend time in nature – enjoy a group walk along the river, picnic in a park or stroll along the beach

By starting with a few of these ideas you’ll be reducing your impact on the earth while enjoying a lifestyle that can be sustained.

The world will thank you for it!

For more tips for enjoying a healthy and sustainable lifestyle read my article https://soiltosupper.com/how-to-enjoy-a-healthy-and-sustainable-lifestyle/

Cath Manuel is a Horticultural Consultant specialising in Therapeutic and Kitchen Gardens. Cath is the Founder and Director of Soil to Supper which provides onsite services and also online programs through the Soil to Supper Community. She is the host of The Wellbeing Garden Podcast Program. Cath has many years’ experience in the horticulture industry and has a great passion for sharing her knowledge to inspire people of all ages and abilities to enjoy gardening activities and grow fresh food. She shares her knowledge through programs, consultations, events and various media publications. Cath holds a Diploma in Horticulture, Certificate in Permaculture Design and Horticultural Therapy.

Find more on therapeutic gardening at www.soiltosupper.com