Comprehensive, Multi-Disciplinary, Sector-wide Solutions

To combat the unhealthful aging practices of seniors and environmental pollution, government, business and nonprofits must unite to strategize over public policy to reduce exposure to poisonous chemicals, develop ecologically-friendly products, push for more natural, organic and holistic food, promote more use of mass transit than vehicles, address socioeconomic gaps and bolster more community solutions, the Collaborative researchers say.

For example, all four panelists insisted that communities boost access to healthy food and eliminate food deserts in low-to-moderate income communities where only processed foods with fat, sugar and salt can be bought, reduce the use of toxic chemicals in public places such as schools, libraries and parks and support public infrastructure to encourage walking, general physical exercise and appreciation of nature rather than vehicular use.

They added that healthcare professionals must boost primary care or family practice preventative care among patients, decrease use of harmful chemicals and substances in their medical facilities and expand healthcare services to low-and-moderate income populations.

Elected officials and government agencies must support legislation and policies prioritizing access to health care, environmental protection and healthy food. Investors must fund government and commercial projects that support renewable and clean energy and sound residential and commercial building practices, the panelists said.

Businesses must create products that benefit the environment and support likeminded community initiatives with their philanthropic foundations and charities, they said.

They said that senior homeowners should avoid polluting their backyards or the streets, using harmful pesticides and cleaning agencies in and out of their homes and being socially, psychologically and emotionally isolated from their families, friends and neighbors.

“[Studies show that] you [contract] less depression looking at [a] tree,” Sykes said. “There is an explosion of literature on this [holistic living and healing]. It is good to be doing gardening.”

Read This Series From the Beginning:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six

This article was originally published Feb. 18, 2014 on the website of, one of seven websites that comprise The Pharm Psych Network, a medical communications and education company.