The National Institute on Aging Discovers Exceptional Agers at Greenspring

June 14, 2013

The NIA aims to gain insight on aging from local "ideal agers"

(Springfield, Va.) - In 2011, Greenspring retirement community partnered with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to host a  Go4Life® campaign launch event promoting physical fitness and activity for people 50+. Since then, the community has hosted several events and speakers from NIA on topics related to healthy aging. In early 2013, Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, Scientific Director for NIA, presented the latest innovative research on the aging process and the objectives of the IDEAL study (Insight into Determinants of Exceptional Aging and Longevity) to more than 200 residents and staff at Greenspring.
The IDEAL study is a new initiative born from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging which began in 1958 as a way to study "normal aging". The IDEAL study is focused on "what is unique about people who live to a very old age without any significant physical or cognitive health problems―so called exceptional or ideal agers." The challenge for researchers is to find 500 "ideal agers" who are 80 years of age or older, live within 150 miles of Baltimore, Md., are mentally sharp with no serious physical health problems, and have no chronic conditions requiring drug treatment. After hearing Dr. Ferrucci's presentation at Greenspring, several residents volunteered for the study and to date, eight have passed the initial screening for the study.
"We were delighted with the response from the Greenspring residents," said Gerri Kochan, Recruitment Coordinator for the IDEAL study. "We believe that only between 1-3% of the aging population can qualify for IDEAL."
Greenspring is designed to keep residents healthy in mind, body, and spirit. A variety of staff are available to provide options for healthy living including fitness experts, nutritionists, professional chefs, medical specialists, and dozens of others. Some of the amenities and services available to residents include a fitness and aquatics center, a newly redesigned on-site medical center equipped with electronic medical records, an online nutritional guide for every dining room, and a variety of fitness-related activities like ballroom dancing, Zumba, Wii bowling, yoga, and pickleball.
"The wellness programs and amenities at Greenspring are designed and implemented by staff who specialize in serving older adults," said Robin Gliboff, Greenspring's Executive Director. "At the community, we are focused on providing as many avenues as possible for residents to achieve a state of overall wellbeing."
Greenspring was one of the first retirement communities that the IDEAL study researchers specifically targeted for participants. Due to the response from that effort , they are now using that experience as a model for recruitment at other retirement communities including Greenspring's sister communities, Riderwood, in Silver Spring, Md. and Charlestown in Catonsville, Md.
To see if you are an exceptional ager and to volunteer for the IDEAL study, call 1-855-80-IDEAL, email [email protected], or visit
About Greenspring:  Greenspring is situated on a scenic 108-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The community is home to nearly 2000 residents, many of which reside in over 1400 independent living apartment homes. At Greenspring, over 200 resident-run and resident-driven programs promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average. Additional information about Greenspring can be found at