seniors-playing-basketball

From Aging in Place to Aging in Community: A 2020 Virtual Talk by Dr. Sara Zeff Geber

Aging in place can be a recipe for isolation and loneliness, according to solo aging expert and Nexus Fellow, Sara Zeff Geber, PhD. In a 2020 virtual presentation, she explains the risks, which include cognitive decline, depression, high blood pressure and more. The result? A decreased quality of life.

According to Geber, there are three types of loneliness:

  • Intimate/Emotional: Longing for a close confidante or intimate partner;
  • Relational/Social: Yearning for quality friendships and social companionship;
  • Collective: Hunger for a network or community of people who share a sense of purpose and interests.

In her presentation, Geber also explains:

  • What makes us happy in later life;
  • The importance of relationships and where they come from;
  • Opportunities to build community;
  • How building community can lead you to the right place to age.

Watch the full presentation:

The event was co-sponsored by Newton Free Library, 2Life Communities, Temple Shalom, and Newton Department of Senior Services.

 

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The Green House Project and Pioneer Network Partner to Improve the Lives of Older Adults

A new partnership between the Green House Project, a not-for-profit dedicated to creating alternative living environments for seniors, and Pioneer Network, a not-for-profit advocating person-directed care, is being cultivated to improve the lives of residents in nursing home communities. According to Skilled Nursing News, “the joint entity will serve as a full-continuum consulting, advisory, and education partner for eldercare organizations.”

Industry visionary, Geriatrician and Nexus Fellow, Dr. Bill Thomas, has a long history of improving the quality of life and purpose for older adults. In the 1990s, he co-founded the Eden Alternative, the Pioneer Network and in 2003 he founded the Green House Project.

“For years, the Green House Project and Pioneer have collaborated on a variety of eldercare reform initiatives, driven by our shared history and mission to improve the lives of nursing home residents today and in the future,” said Pioneer Network President & CEO, Penny Cook. “Together, we will go farther than we could as parallel travelers on the same path.”

Read more at Skilled Nursing News.

 

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HCBS

U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging Addresses the Need for Investing in Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

Nexus Fellow and ATI Advisory CEO, Anne Tumlinson, was invited to testify at the Senate’s Special Committee Hearing titled “An Economy That Cares: The Importance of Home-Based Services”. Tumlinson advised that in order to reduce reliance on skilled nursing care, more money needed to be invested in Home and Community-Based Services.

“HCBS makes it possible for many individuals with LTSS needs to remain where they want to be, which is in their home. But unfortunately our home care system and its infrastructure are vastly underdeveloped and under-resourced to meet the growing need for services…If we don’t invest in them, American families are going to face very serious economic challenges, possibly even more than they are today,” said Tumlinson.

Read more at McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
Watch the full hearing on the U.S. Senate website.

 

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Nurse and senior man playing chess

Senior Care Staffing Shortages

The skilled nursing industry has not recovered from staffing shortages spurred by the onset of the pandemic in 2020. According to Nexus Fellow and CEO of Activated Insights, Jacquelyn Kung, prior to COVID-19, employee turnover in senior care positions was 65%. It’s now at 85%.

“We need to look outside our own industry, we need to think about how we embed ourselves more in our communities and institute community hiring initiatives and rethink the requirements that we have in our role definitions,” said Kung.

An article, which appeared in Skilled Nursing News, poses possible solutions to staffing issues from experts in the aging industry.

  • Offer more hours to part-time workers
  • Provide work-life integration
  • Encourage workers to create their own solutions
  • Know what employees want in order to help retain and recruit

Read more at Skilled Nursing News.

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aging in place baby boomers

Why Boomers May (or May Not) Want to Age in Place

There are so many options between aging-in-place and a nursing home. Open-minded baby boomers should explore them all.

While many people plan to “age in place” and remain in their homes, it isn’t always the best plan, the best location, or the best house. It may not even be an option in later years when unexpected health or mobility issues, or even loneliness, play a factor. Does that mean the only other option is a skilled nursing facility? Absolutely not. According to an op-ed written in the Sun-Sentinel by Nexus Fellows Ryan Frederick and Sara Zeff Geber, PhD, other options include “age-friendly apartments, active adult communities, independent living senior communities, home-sharing, co-housing and accessible dwelling units (ADUs).”

What makes a place the right place, or the best place, when it comes to a happy life? Purpose, engagement, and social connection, according to findings from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. Frederick and Geber go on to explain how policymakers can support this, and how Boomers can make the right choice for their “bonus” years, the 21 years beyond retirement.

Read the full piece, ‘Aging in Place’ is not a plan. It’s denial – and it ignores an opportunity.

Ryan Frederick and Sara Zeff Geber are fellows of Nexus Insights, a think tank advancing the well-being of older adults through innovative models of housing and healthcare. Frederick is the author of “Right Place, Right Time: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Home for the Second Half of Life (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021). Geber is the author of “Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers: A Retirement and Aging Roadmap for Single and Childless Adults” (Mango, 2018).

 

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Housing For Middle-Income Seniors

Middle-Income Seniors – The Forgotten Middle

When it comes to senior housing, wealthy seniors can pay their own way and low-income seniors often qualify for Medicaid. The real problem is for those in the middle. They aren’t wealthy enough for private pay, yet they are too well-off for Medicaid. To make matters worse, the number of people stuck in the middle will nearly double over the next decade. Senior housing operators and policymakers have the opportunity to serve this new market, but how and to what extent?

Nexus founder and Fellow Bob Kramer discusses “The Forgotten Middle” with Nexus Fellow Caroline Pearson, senior vice president health care strategy, NORC at the University of Chicago in an episode of Foresight TV hosted by Steve Moran of Senior Living Foresight.

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Special Focus Facility program

CMS ‘Retooled’ Special Focus Facility Program Pushes for Faster Upgrades to Troubled Nursing Homes

CMS is going to put troubled nursing homes on a fast-track to improve with a ‘retooled’ Special Focus Facility program as reported by Bloomberg Law. Those who don’t make it will have their certifications revoked. This effort is designed to bring problem providers into compliance more quickly. But according to David Grabowski, Nexus Fellow and Harvard Medical School professor, there could be a downside to consider.

This new approach could be “taking dollars and access away from beneficiaries who don’t have anywhere else to turn,” says Grabowski, adding that “there’s not always operators lining up to enter into those markets.”

There are approximately 15,500 Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes in the United States. Approximately 2,500 of them have one star ratings.

Read more at Bloomberg Law.

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Cohousing for Seniors

Cohousing for Seniors – An Instructional Model for the Senior Living Industry?

Cohousing for seniors. It’s an intriguing alternative to aging-in-place, especially for those willing to make a housing change before they are forced to and who want a setting that reinforces the values and activities that are important (or meaningful) to them. Cohousing could also be a key model for the senior living industry as it seeks to attract the boomer generation.

“Professionals in the senior living industry are dragging their feet about making the changes necessary to attract boomers.” While they are remodeling old units with new kitchens, adding fresh paint, hiring top chefs, and even involving residents in policy decisions, “it doesn’t address the devotion many boomers have to their work, their communities, their causes and projects, and their families – the exact kind of interests of people in cohousing,” said Nexus Fellow Sara Zeff Geber in her recent post in Forbes.

Most people don’t know about cohousing communities, but there are over 200 of them in the US right now with more in the works. They are intentional communities built around a set of shared values. They are also places where people can live independently and can request services as they need them. This could be a better alternative to staying at home for too long and realizing too late that some changes should have been made years ago.

Read the full story at Forbes.

 

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Cost of Ageism in the United States

The Cost of Ageism in the United States

Ageism is not only painful for those it disadvantages, it’s also costly – an estimated $63 billion per year. Furthermore, it contributes to mental health issues and is the leading cause of suicide in older adults. At a time when people are living longer, healthier and more productive lives, the rest of society persists in seeing older people as obsolete. This is according to an article published in Seniors Matter.

Dr. Bill Thomas, a geriatrician and a Nexus Fellow, points out ageism in the United States in the documentary film The Roots and Consequences of Ageism in America. “Society holds up very young and inexperienced people as being the paragons of virtue and strength and idealizes them while setting aside real elders with real lived experience making them virtually invisible.”

“Ageism is common, but it doesn’t need to be inevitable,” says Erica Harrison, the author of the article, and expands on what can be done by individuals to change the narrative.

  • Be inclusive
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Avoid ageist language
  • Call out ageism

Read the whole piece: Seniors Matter.

 

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Wage Increase for Long-Term Care Workers

Leading Industry Experts Support Wage Increase for Long-Term Care Workers

LeadingAge, the country’s second-largest long-term care association, has called upon President Biden to boost worker pay by $5 an hour, according to a report in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. They are also asking for one-time relief payments of $2,000. These requests are part of a six-point relief proposal to address widespread long-term care worker shortages. The proposal was sent to President Biden in a letter from Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge.

David Grabowski, health policy expert at Harvard Medical School and Nexus Insights fellow, fully supports the plan. He is quoted in the article saying that we “would be in much better shape today if policymakers had put this in place at [an earlier] time” but adds that “it’s not too late to do this now.”

Grabowski says that supporting workers in long-term care will help alleviate the staff shortages that lead to overwork and burnout. “Policymakers must also increase benefits and ensure better working conditions. All too often, staff are overworked due to staffing shortages.”

Read the full article in McKnight’s Long-Term News

 

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