Mather Brings New Perspective to Wellness through Biophilic Design and Person-Centric Model

EVANSTON, Ill., March 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As construction continues at The Mather, a Life Plan Community opening in Tysons, Virginia in 2024, a unique wellness philosophy is literally being built into the community. Incorporating biophilic design, and Mather’s unique Person-Centric Wellness Model, created by its research area Mather Institute, will bring a fresh perspective to wellness.

“Research shows that a connection to nature provides positive benefits to mental states and overall well-being.” 

Mather, founded in 1941, is bringing innovation not only through its wellness model but also in its most recent senior living development in Tysons for those age 62+. With construction of The Mather, they sought to capture the many benefits of nature by incorporating biophilic design—an approach to facilitate access to nature or things that replicate natural patterns. ‘Bringing the outdoors in’ connects residents to the natural world, while providing beneficial sensory experiences.

“Research shows that a connection to nature provides positive benefits to mental states and overall well-being, said Mather CEO and President, Mary Leary.  “At The Mather biophilic design is the intersection of buildings and programs with nature in a vibrant urban setting.”

Examples include interior spaces with sightlines to green spaces like a park, choosing natural wood and stone as interior materials, or incorporating fragrant flowers and plants indoors to spark memories and provide tactile opportunities such as gardening.

Wellness, Personalized.

Biophilic design is just one example of how Mather Institute’s Person-Centric Wellness Model is being applied at The Mather. In a world of custom offerings and amenities, Mather recognizes that everyone’s wellness journey is unique to their individual life experiences and influences, which is a key focus of their Person-Centric Wellness Model.

The model identifies three universal psychological needs which the Institute calls the three As, Autonomy, Achievement and Affiliation.

“The Person-Centric Wellness Model recognizes that wellness doesn’t look the same to everyone, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It focuses on the unique individual characteristics and external factors that influence each person’s personal wellness needs,” explains Cate O’Brien, PhD, Vice President & Director, Mather Institute.  

The Institute’s model was shaped knowing that people are more likely to benefit from a healthy pursuit when it’s something that they are choosing to do (Autonomy); when they feel enabled to reach their goals (Achievement), and when their efforts are encouraged by others (Affiliation).

“For example, when people voluntarily help others, they’re engaging in an activity of their own volition, they have an opportunity to apply their skills, and it fosters a sense of closeness to others,” explains O’Brien.

Mindfulness and Vibrational Therapy

Mather Institute also has a special focus on mindfulness to support older adults’ practice of present moment awareness, which can lead to increased overall well-being, compassion, and joy. Its influence is helping shape wellness programs and offerings at The Mather.

“The Mather is attracting a diverse group of older adults,” says Leary. “As a result, we aim to incorporate wellness practices from around the world, including Wyda movement theory of the Celtic Druids, which helps people achieve harmony with nature and contentment through mindfulness.”

This holistic regenerative approach is similar to Qi Gong and yoga, while born in a different part of the world.

Another quite different example of wellness at The Mather is the Gharieni Welnamis spa wave bed, which uses computer-controlled vibrational therapy and audio frequencies to train the brain to relax.

“The bed increases mindfulness, concentration, and creativity—all of which support our mission of creating Ways to Age Well,SM” says Leary.

These and other personalized ways to wellness will provide residents of The Mather seemingly countless ways to focus on their well-being, inside and out.


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