saving for long-term care

Hey Boomer: Time to Start Planning How to Pay for Long-Term Care

Hey Boomer! Sara Zeff Geber has an important message for you: It’s time to make a plan for your long-term care.

In her recent Forbes article, “Hey Boomer: Medicare Won’t Cover Your Long-Term Care,” Zeff Geber, the author of Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, and a Nexus Insights Fellow, shared some surprising facts. In a  2019 study by Bankers Life, “nearly half of the middle-income boomers surveyed believe they will need care in later life, but almost 80% of them have no plan or savings toward it.”

And, indeed, many seniors will need care later in life. Zeff Geber points to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services, which found that, “Men over 65 men will require an average of 2.3 years of long-term care; women will require an average of 3.2 years.” The expected price tag? “Men who turn 65 in the next few years can expect to spend an average of $142,000 on long-term care needs (nursing and help with everyday functions like bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.). For women, that figure is $176,000.”

Those large numbers are shocking enough. But, according to Zeff Geber, “A shocking 56% of boomers mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for long-term (sometimes called “custodial” care). They are sadly mistaken.” 

Geber offers some suggestions for Boomers to start getting prepared. “The best planning you can do for yourself is to save the money you will need for this kind of care.” Another option? “Take out a long-term care insurance policy.” And avoid the worst option, “Having your daughter/son/niece/nephew/sibling leave their family or work in order to provide you the care you need.”

Read the full article.

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Seniors in group living situations are less lonely and more optimistic

Seniors in group living centers are feeling less lonely now and more optimistic

By Jacquelyn Kung, Robert G. Kramer and Ed Frauenheim

Contrary to popular opinion, recent studies show that older adults are not languishing in lonely isolation. “In fact, a large percentage of seniors in our communities are not lonely,” said Robert Kramer, Founder and Fellow of Nexus Insights and Strategic Advisor for NIC. “The common perceptions —  they’re wrong, ageist and miss the hopefulness of seniors in their finding a sense of community, even in the midst of the pandemic.”

In the past, we have seen people come together during national emergencies “to form communities around a common threat and a common need,” Kramer explained. “The one group we don’t expect it from at all are older adults in senior living communities —  but they are, and they are demonstrating it,” Kramer said.

Authors Jacquelyn Kung, Robert Kramer and Ed Frauenheim point to our elders as role models for healing the nation, and showing us how to live more fully than ever, in their recent column in the Dallas Morning News.


Our poor elders.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, and media coverage of seniors, you might think basically all seniors today are traumatized and lonely, right?

Wrong.

The stereotype of isolated, forlorn elders belies recent surveys of older adults in senior living settings.

Just 20% of senior living residents are severely lonely, according to a new 64,000-person survey from software firm Activated Insights. In fact, this survey of seniors in assisted living and other congregate living settings reveals a potential decline in loneliness among elders in retirement communities from before the pandemic. Prior studies before the pandemic of community-dwelling older adults found higher rates of loneliness.

We would argue that we as a country have a biased — and potentially ageist — narrative when it comes to elders living in congregate settings.

In fact, we should learn from the resilience of elders in the face of formidable challenges.

The stereotype of isolated, forlorn elders belies recent surveys of older adults in senior living settings.

Granted, the recent Activated Insights survey does not include most nursing homes, where particularly frail elders live. And the number of older adults in senior living settings overall, roughly 2 million people, is a fraction of the total U.S. senior population.

Still, the new research offers inspiration to the rest of the county as we work to construct our post-COVID reality and battle what some have deemed widespread languishing.

A key lesson from our elders in this moment is the power of community, friendship and gratitude.

Consider Patricia Finick of Dallas, co-author Jacquelyn Kung’s mother-in-law. By any measure, the 81-year-old has been through a lot. Her husband of more than 50 years died in 2019. After sitting in an empty home for half a year, she chose to sell her house in Connecticut, 20 minutes from where she was born, and relocate to Dallas.

In January 2020, she moved into Highland Springs, a senior living community in North Dallas. Finick swapped a 2,200-square-foot home for a 900-square-foot apartment. And then COVID-19 swooped in, isolating her in her new home before she had a chance to meet new friends.

Despite a very difficult year, Finick doesn’t feel beaten down in this moment. No, life is looking more hopeful to her. And she’s excited about engaging in more activities. “As long as my legs will let me, I’m going to go out and do it,” she says. “And if my legs don’t work well, I can get a walker.”

A key lesson from our elders in this moment is the power of community, friendship and gratitude.

One key to her optimism is her Catholic faith. Another is her set of friends, both long-standing phone buddies as well as some new friends she has met at Highland Springs over the past year. She’s part of a breakfast club, a group of residents who gather most mornings. “They’re really, really friendly, and we have a lot of laughs together,” Finick says.

Finick’s contentment is echoed by other residents of senior living settings, according to the Activated Insights survey of residents and family members during the first half of this year.

Many elders in these settings expressed gratitude, both for the sense of belonging they experience and for the caring they received from staff members of their communities.

Consider these survey comments from seniors:

“I’m more than satisfied with life. I feel safe and am especially grateful for the careful response to COVID-19. Gratitude and blessings.”

“(I had) a feeling of safety during a time of great vulnerability. Having the opportunity to make new friends helps a lot.”

These aren’t cherry-picked quotes. Before COVID, when asked for comments about the best thing about the senior living community, 20% or fewer responses were about belonging, community, appreciating the staff and being safe. This year, though, 60% to 70% of “best thing” comments mentioned those themes.

As a nation, America could use a booster shot of resilience. Observers note a kind of COVID hangover, or apathy.

Seniors in congregate settings, who in some ways bore the brunt of the pandemic, offer guidance for a brighter path forward. These older adults may be more willing than younger Americans to acknowledge our interdependence as human beings, experiencing the support they receive not with resentment but appreciation.

Far from feeling fearful, sad and isolated, seniors are showing us how to live more fully than ever.

A few months ago in The News, we authors urged the country to rethink how we view senior citizens and engage elders in the work of healing the nation.

The latest data suggests seniors are already doing this work. Far from feeling fearful, sad and isolated, many of them are showing us how to live more fully than ever.

Patricia Finick, for one, looks forward to more dinners and concerts with her new friends. Together, they are eager to put the last vestiges of the pandemic behind them.

Says Finick: “There is a whole world out there to explore.”

Read the article.

Jacquelyn Kung is CEO of Activated Insights and a Nexus Insights Fellow.

Robert G. Kramer is a Nexus Insights Founder and Fellow, and Strategic Advisor & former CEO of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC).

Ed Frauenheim is co-author of several books on organizational culture, including “A Great Place to Work for All.”

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Mind games help with long-term brain health

Mind Games – Significance of Lifestyle Interventions to Prevent Cognitive Decline

Humans have long been looking for the fountain of youth. Medical advances mean that most of us can expect to live for a long time. But how we live is an important component of successful aging. Originally published in June, Mind Games is an essay that explores the current understanding of best practices for maintaining a healthy brain as we age.

With my first book coming out in the fall, I am paying more attention to bookstores. I’m finding an increasing number of titles related to aging. It’s probably not surprising as the bulge of baby boomers – the oldest of whom are now in their mid-70s – are looking to successfully age, where a longer life span is matched with a correspondingly long wealth span and health span.

A number of these books focus on brain health. It makes sense as, according to one prominent researcher, Alzheimer’s is the most feared disease, even more than cancer. The loss of independence is devastating and requires comprehensive assistance to manage life. The burden on caregivers, often a spouse or family, can be overwhelming, too. A long life span and wealth span may be of little use if health deteriorates significantly.

It’s no surprise that the recent approval of Aduhelm, Biogen’s new drug for Alzheimer’s, has received significant attention. Its impact could be transformational for millions of people, perhaps with a greater impact on society than the vaccines produced to combat COVID-19. While critics point to scant evidence of its impact on the disease, if successful, it could usher in a new wave of effective innovations to fight cognitive decline.

“We may be soon entering an era without dementia. It could arguably be just as significant as a world without cancer. Such a milestone would be one of mankind’s great achievements.”

Significance of Lifestyle Interventions to Prevent Cognitive Decline

The good news is that many of us can take measures to prevent or delay cognitive decline without relying on a pill. A range of lifestyle interventions can reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment, characterized as problems with memory, language, thinking or judgment, as well as the risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. Mild cognitive impairment is often a precursor to dementia.

Diet

We are learning more about the role of a healthy diet to help prevent dementia. The MIND diet, which is a variant of the Mediterranean Diet, focuses on whole grains, berries, green, leafy vegetables, other vegetables, olive oil, poultry and fish. Researchers have found that strict adherence to the MIND diet for older adults resulted in about a 50% decrease in Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Even more encouraging is that you don’t have to be rigorous in adhering to the diet to experience a positive impact. Simply eating fish once a week and incorporating greens into a meal each day could be an achievable goal that makes a difference.

Exercise

Scientists are still determining the causes of mild cognitive impairment, but some evidence suggests that a reduction in blood flow to the brain can be a factor. Regular exercise amplifies the healthy flow of blood to the brain while exercising and afterwards. Recent studies show that regular brisk walking is particularly effective in helping older adults with mild cognitive impairment. As last month’s blog emphasized, it’s valuable to move regularly, even if the measures are as simple as taking stairs or parking farther away when shopping or commuting.

Social Connection

The impact of loneliness has been well-documented: it has been found to be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can increase the risk of premature death by as much as 30%. But loneliness is particularly harmful to the brain. Studies have shown that loneliness can increase risks of dementia by 26% and mild cognitive impairment by 105%. Regularly reaching out to friends, whether they live close by or far away, could have a greater impact on your brain health than you realize.

Sleep

Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day. Sleep helps cement positive memories, mollify painful ones, and meld past and present knowledge, inspiring creativity. Conversely, insufficient sleep wreaks havoc. Insufficient sleep, or routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night, increases the odds of dementia. As we age, we tend to sleep less efficiently and wake up earlier, so it is important to go to bed earlier.

Hearing

Hearing loss has been shown to be a factor in cognitive loss and may also be one of the biggest potentially reversible factors. Hearing loss for a long period causes shrinkage to areas of the brain associated with memory. Proper diagnosis of hearing loss is important, as are interventions such as hearing aids.

Don’t Forget the Role of Place

Place has important direct and indirect impact on our brain health. Some places are objectively poor for our cognitive health. One study found that living near major roads is linked to an increased risk of neurological diseases, including dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis. It is believed to be caused by excessive exposure to air pollution and the incessant noise of vehicles.

Place also has an indirect role, by nudging us to healthy lifestyles. A pervasive culture that values healthy eating makes it easier to eat healthy; environments that are conducive to exercise embedded in the normal course of life are beneficial; areas that promote social connection amongst neighbors can help stave off social isolation and loneliness.

An Era Without Dementia

With advances on various fronts, we may be soon entering an era without dementia. It could arguably be just as significant as a world without cancer. Such a milestone would be one of mankind’s great achievements. As Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, Director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Program at Duke University School of Medicine and co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan, says, “It’s a hopeful time.”

But, even if Biogen’s Aduhelm is unsuccessful, we can be hopeful, because the right mix of diet, exercise, social connection, sleep and hearing may just be the antidote we need to keep our minds strong. And don’t forget the role of place, the foundation that helps pull it all together.


Mind Games was originally published on SmartLiving 360.

Place plays a significant yet often unacknowledged role in health and happiness. Ryan Frederick, CEO of SmartLiving 360 and a Nexus Insights Fellow is the author of the upcoming book Right Time, Right Place, in which he explores more deeply the idea that where you live matters enormously – especially during the second half of your life.

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unvaccinated caregivers in long-term care

COVID on the Rise in Nursing Homes Again: Unvaccinated Caregivers is the Reason.

Here we go again. Despite the successful efforts nationwide to vaccinate nursing home residents, infections and deaths are increasing again in senior facilities. The reason? “Lagging vaccination rates among nursing home staff,” according to an Associated Press story in the Star Tribune.

Although nearly 80% nursing home residents are vaccinated, nursing home staff vaccination rates are much lower, about 59% nationwide, according to the story. This more closely matches the rate of vaccinated adults nationwide. The rates vary by state, however, with some states having vaccination rates as low as 40%.

The problem? This poses a danger to the unvaccinated staffers, and it poses a danger to the residents, even those who are vaccinated. Vaccinated older adults may be more vulnerable than younger people, particularly against aggressive COVID variants, such as delta. This raises concerns that “successes in protecting vulnerable elders with vaccines could be in peril,” the story reports.

“Vaccinating workers in nursing homes is a national emergency because the delta variant is a threat even to those already vaccinated,” according to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Older adults may not respond fully to the vaccine and there’s enormous risk of someone coming in with the virus.”

“Vaccinating workers in nursing homes is a national emergency because the delta variant is a threat even to those already vaccinated.”

David Grabowski, Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard University, and a Nexus Insights Fellow, said “trust is the core question” among the unvaccinated, especially among low-wage workers who may not have confidence in recommendations from their management. “I think some of this mirrors what we see in the overall population, but among health care workers it is really disconcerting,” Grabowski said.

Read the full story.

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Relief ahead for health care worker burnout

Relief Ahead: HHS Funds 3-Year Program to Reduce Health Care Worker Burnout

Another cost of the COVID-19 pandemic? Caregiver burnout. Research firm Activated Insights conducted a two-year survey of 330 senior living and care workers. The results? “Worker burnout increased substantially during the pandemic at independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities,” according to a report by McKnight’s Senior Living.

One of the surprising findings is that burnout declined by 12% for home care workers. 

In a conversation with McKnight’s Home Care Daily. Activated Insights CEO and Nexus Fellow Jacquelyn Kung suggested an explanation for the decline. Home care agencies “have adapted very quickly and are supporting their employees a lot more than they have in the past.” 

The good news? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $103 million in funding for a three-year program to Strengthen Resiliency and battle worker Burnout. 

Worker burnout increased substantially during the pandemic at independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities.”

“It is essential that we provide behavioral health resources for our healthcare providers — from paraprofessional to public safety officers, so that they can continue to deliver quality care to our most vulnerable communities,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the announcement.

The McKnight’s report went on to say, “In awarding the money, HHS said healthcare providers face many challenges and stresses due to high patient volumes, long hours and workplace demands during normal time. During the pandemic, those challenges were amplified and had a disproportionate impact on rural communities and communities of color.”

Read the full article.

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ATI Analysis of Medicare Population Needs and the Critical Role of LTC Pharmacy

As many as 70 percent of individuals who reach age 65 will experience severe long-term-care (LTC) needs before they die. Those needs might range from help with managing their finances or medications, to help bathing and getting dressed. Having LTC needs does not necessarily correspond to living in a long-term care facility, however. Instead, people with LTC needs may live and receive services at home or in other community-based settings. 

Unfortunately for those living outside of LTC facilities, they face barriers to getting the assistance they need. A study conducted by ATI Advisory, in partnership with the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC), found that “state and federal policy and health plan requirements can create barriers that restrict people aging outside facility settings from accessing long-term services and supports, including LTC pharmacy.” 

As a population with high prescription drug utilization, access to LTC pharmacy is especially important to Medicare beneficiaries with LTC needs. The study found, however, that despite the pivotal role that LTC pharmacies play in the care of those with LTC needs, this role is not widely understood or acknowledged by individuals, caregivers, policymakers, and payers. 

Moreover, the study found that Medicare beneficiaries with LTC needs are demographically different from those without LTC needs in several important ways. The population studied was statistically “more likely to be Black or Latinx, female, dually eligible for Medicaid, clinically complex, and have higher healthcare and prescription drug utilization than beneficiaries without LTC needs.” Addressing the barriers to access to LTC services is necessary to work toward parity in access to services, coverage for services, support for caregivers, and equity in outcomes. 

Read the study outcomes.

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Dr. Sara Zeff Geber on Senior Isolation and Solo Aging

Strategies for reducing isolation among solo agers – an interview with Sara Zeff Geber

Sara Zeff Geber, an expert in solo aging and a Nexus Insights Fellow, noticed something interesting. A lot of Baby Boomers were spending a lot of time, resources, and money taking care of their aging parents. And it occurred to her to wonder, for childless seniors like herself, “Who’s going to do that for us?” 

That question launched a new line of research for her, and ultimately led to her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers.

Zeff Geber was interviewed recently by Dr. Namrata Bagaria and Dr. Paul Merkley of Seniors Junction on their podcast “Ending Seniors’ Isolation, One Conversation at a Time.” The two asked Zeff Geber for her insights into reducing isolation and loneliness for solo agers.

Among the many insights she shared:

  • Solo aging is becoming more common. “Almost 20% of Baby Boomer women didn’t have kids.”
  • Everyone, even married couples, should plan as if they will be solo agers. “One spouse will almost always pre-decease the other, and you don’t have a crystal ball.” 
  • “The research shows that isolation and loneliness are more deadly to us than 15 cigarettes a day,” said Zeff Geber. The most important thing, she suggested, is to build and maintain a social network. 
  • As Bagaria points out, “Paul and I have learned on our journey that some people are naturally proactive about connecting and building a network and some have to pick up that skill.” Said Zeff Geber, “Learn to be a joiner; find a group that interests you; it could be a golf club, a book club, a dog-lovers group, or a similar-minded group at your church or synagogue”

Listen to the full podcast.

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Nursing home strike in Pennsylvania

Understaffed, underpaid and unsafe: Nursing home strike in Pennsylvania

David Grabowski, Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, and Nexus Insights Fellow, was recently interviewed by The Times in a story about 12 nursing homes in Pennsylvania that have voted to authorize strikes

Nurses, nurse aides and other caregivers have authorized issuing a 10-day strike notice at 12 nursing homesIssues include “a growing crisis involving the COVID-19 pandemic, chronic understaffing and low pay, and industry regulations in desperate need of reform,” according to the workers’ union, SEIU Healthcare PA.

Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, cites two major issues affecting the industry, a shortage of workers and declining Medicaid reimbursements.

A statement from the union states that the workforce has been, “Stretched to the breaking point after decades of understaffing, lack of investment in a workforce that makes poverty wages, and a pandemic that took an unimaginable physical, mental, emotional and financial toll on caregivers who have dedicated their lives to our most vulnerable.” There were more than 13,000 COVID-19 nursing home deaths in the state.

Owners and workers both express a concern for the health and safety of residents.

Read the full article.

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Transforming senior living

How Managed Care Companies are Transforming Senior Living

The senior living sector, which is experiencing a period of unprecedented disruption, has begun to show signs of a major transformation. Several weeks ago, Tim Mullaney, editor of Senior Housing News, wrote a fascinating article (behind a paywall) on the significance of the recently announced Lifesprk acquisition of Tealwood Senior Living. Central to Mullaney’s analysis is the recognition that the acquisition is an early sign of major changes taking place in the senior living sector. As Mullaney writes, the transaction suggests that the industry is “not just rebounding but transforming.”

I believe that Mullaney’s analysis should be required reading for every senior living operating company executive and every investor who has more than a two-to-three-year investment horizon. Here’s why. For several years, a number of us in the senior living field have been predicting that managed care companies would either acquire or build their own senior living platforms. Now, as Mullaney points out, this concept is no longer just a theoretical possibility but is happening – and is “about to become more commonplace.”

Mullaney sees the integration of the two platforms as a template for a new operational model of senior living that’s more integrated across the continuum of providers and payers. The model will also challenge the way real estate-based investors view value creation in the sector. Lifesprk is a home care provider whose model is rooted in home and community-based services (HCBS) and who contracts with health systems and payers, assuming financial risk and reward. Mullaney sees five pain points or shortcomings in today’s senior living product that he believes at least on paper, the innovative Lifesprk senior living model will address.

Enhanced consumer appeal

Mullaney notes that Lifesprk’s “life care manager” will help address the many frustrations of adult children who currently must connect all the dots of the health care and long-term care systems for their loved one. Typically, the eldest adult daughter must coordinate care for their parents even when they reside in a high quality private-pay senior living community. By communicating with the family and caregivers, as well as the different providers and payers, the “life care manager” will help address this common frustration of adult children, especially the adult daughter, when they’re paying $4,000 to $10,000 a month, but find themselves still heavily involved in coordinating care.

Too often, families are the point people for figuring out the right setting and the right care for their parent, and for ensuring that healthcare and senior care providers are communicating with each other. This is in addition to figuring out who will pay for the care, and how. Senior living options that leave the burden on the adult child or spouse to connect will be replaced by models that truly provide what the adult children think they’re paying for.

Affordability

Joel Thiessen, CEO of Lifesprk, believes that by bringing all the payment sources together under one experience, and by taking on global risk, savings will be generated – and could be invested in housing and services. The model opens the door for providers to improve the affordability of care without impacting quality. As quoted in Mullaney’s article, Thiessen says, “We think we can use both sides of a person’s wallet, their insurance or their Medicare/Medicaid benefit as well as their private pay and put those together under one experience versus one butchering the other.”

Health and Wellness

As Mullaney points out, wellness was already a hot topic before the pandemic. Consumers and value-based care providers and payers alike are demanding engaging and healthy lifestyles. With their “electronic life record” which records not only medical-based and care-based key data, but also lifestyle-related information, Lifesprk is in a better position to address this trend. Integrating lifestyle data into the record enables ongoing preventative health, management of chronic conditions and an increased emphasis on vitality and staying well rather than sick care only once one is sick. This approach reflects the likely model of healthcare delivery of the future that is predictive, preventative, and participatory, rather than reactive, curative, and after the fact.

Changing Capital Structures

While real estate investment returns have been high across the sector, capital structures are in need of change. Pointing to problems such as oversupply, and to heavy regulatory criticism of private equity ownership, as well as the fact that Lifesprk promises a more competitive offering, Mullaney argues that REITs will quickly recognize the need to adapt. He highlights examples of this recognition, such as Welltower’s joint venture acquisition of HCRManorCare with health system ProMedica, and the new Formation Capital strategy, which bears some resemblance to the Lifesprk move.

The Home Care Threat

Finally, Mullaney suggests that the recent boom in home care need no longer be viewed as competition with the senior housing and care industry. Instead, Mullaney argues, “senior living providers should emphasize that they are HCBS settings, while also finding ways to extend their services beyond the walls of their buildings.” Rather than be distracted from the mission of providing better care for the growing population of older adults, leaders such as Thiessen see an opportunity in the home care business. The moves they make now should be watched closely. They may, indeed, define the industry for years to come.

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Nexus Insights Fellows News 2021

Nexus Fellows Flash Bulletin: June 2021

The Nexus Fellows are leaders in the aging industry, helping to shape public policy and redefine aging and aging services. From books to podcasts, here’s a sample of some of the work they’ve been doing in the past month:

  • Jay Newton-Small, CEO of MemoryWell, is wrapping up a second year of their joint contest for Hilarity for Charity, Seth and Lauren Miller Rogen’s Alzheimer’s charity and Humans of Dementia Storytelling Competition. It’s a competition for high school and college students to write the best profile of someone living with Alzheimer’s. Winners will have the chance to meet Seth and Lauren Rogen during the virtual celebration. Additionally, MemoryWell has added three new members to their team.
  • Jacquelyn Kung, CEO of Senior Care Group at Activated Insights, was interviewed by Skip Lineberg, host of The Main Thing Podcast, about elder care, and her passion to improve the aging experience. “The main thing I’ve learned in my lifetime so far is that getting older is what you make of it. And I see it as full of good news. Socially, we get happier as we get older, and the research shows that.”
  • Jill Vitale-Aussem, president and CEO of Christian Living Communities, sat down with Senior Housing Investors Podcast to talk about her book, “Disrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living: A Mindshift.”
  • Sarah Thomas, CEO of Delight by Design, delivered the keynote on designing products and services for the aging population with Chief Medical Office of AARP, DR Charlotte Yeh. Additionally, she moderated two panels featuring the important work of seven agetech startups at the Rehab Tech Summit mini-Summit. Thomas was an expert judge at the AOTA 2021 Inventors Showcase, where 11 startups pitched their innovative products designed to serve people across the lifespan. The winner designed a novel gait belt that improves the safety of caregivers and residents in senior living and beyond.
  • Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of The Eden Alternative, The Green House Project, and Minka, recently traveled the country, talking with elders and their care partners in more than 125 cities. He learned about their hopes and fears, and listened to their stories. What did he discover? That people want better alternatives for senior living. “It turns out that older people pretty much want what everyone else wants: to belong to a community that includes people of all ages and remain connected to the living world,” Thomas said.
  • Nexus Founder & Fellow, and NIC Strategic Advisor, Bob Kramer, has joined the Edenbridge Health Board of Advisors to help expand access to comprehensive, integrated, community-based and person-centered care for the frail elderly through innovative applications of the PACE Program.
  • In the blog post, “Just Move It,” CEO of SmartLiving 360, Ryan Frederick talks about the importance of physical exercise for older adults. “Inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death and about 1.5 billion people in the world are inactive to the point that it risks their long-term health. At a health care conference several years ago, four recent surgeon generals were asked for one tip for successful aging. They coalesced on one word: move.”
  • Nexus Fellow Kelsey Mellard, CEO of Sitka, sat down with Sanjula Jain Jo on Her Story for a candid conversation about being a healthcare leader and her transition from the Midwest to DC to Silicon Valley, building a resilient team, and overcoming challenges.
  • Longevity economy expert, Jody Holtzman, formerly of AARP is proud to be on the advisory board of Intuition Robotics, which is mitigating loneliness among older adults with the companion robot ElliQ. “The growing mismatch between the number of people in need of caregivers and the availability of caregivers is a multifaceted challenge for individual families and society more broadly. Technology must be part of the solution. Companion robots like ElliQ and others in this space, like my friends at Joy for All/Ageless Innovation, have an important role to play.”
  • Caroline Pearson, Senior VP of Health Care Strategy at NORC at the University of Chicago, announced the release of new research from NIC and NORC that looks at the impact of the pandemic on seniors by care setting. “Mortality rates increase by complexity of care, but, in lower acuity settings such as independent living communities, they are comparable to surrounding populations.”

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