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.

 

Want to be notified when a new blog is posted? Subscribe to our blog and receive posts in your inbox.

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.

Want to be notified when a new blog is posted? Subscribe to our blog and receive posts in your inbox.

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.

 

Want to be notified when a new blog is posted? Subscribe to our blog and receive posts in your inbox.

Skills in the Aging Services Industry

A Guide for Cultivating CEO Skills in the Aging Services Industry

In December, Jacquelyn Kung, Bob Kramer, and Ed Frauenheim published a column in McKnight’s Senior Living discussing the 5 critical CEO skills needed for the future of aging services. These included personal depth, operational savvy, industry awareness, government smarts and megatrend acumen. In response to the column, many readers asked for advice on how to develop these skills. Here are three things to keep in mind if you want to develop the CEO skills needed for the future of aging services.

Know thyself. Know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. And not just “hard” skills like finance or technology. You must know your emotional self. This emotional intelligence helps to create caring communities that people want to be a part of. It also helps you relate to and inspire all the people in your organization, top to bottom. 

Know others. Create a large, diverse network of friends and colleagues, especially those outside of aging services. It’s very handy to know thinkers and experts in other fields who you can call on for instant wisdom.

Know thy world. Keep up with developments in areas outside of elder services. There’s good reason to think big changes in culture, technology and economics will also have big impacts on senior living in the years ahead. The article provides three concrete takeaways in regard to the above three tenets. Read the full article here at McKnight’s Long-Term Care

Engagement Disruption eBook

Engagement Disruption – A New eBook from Bob Kramer and Sara Kyle, Ph.D.

Many senior living communities are preparing to get back to business as usual after the pandemic. This, however, is a mistake and a missed opportunity. Engagement Disruption: Start Engaging The Resident Journey is a new eBook co-authored by Bob Kramer, founder and fellow of Nexus Insights and co-founder and strategic advisor to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, and Sara Kyle, Ph.D., founder of LE3 Solutions. In it they outline the opportunities for senior communities as they prepare for a post-pandemic reopening.

They describe a new aspirational model of engagement based on individual resident goals and passions rather than just a busy activities calendar. Find out why the standard answers to questions like “how will mom stay in touch with the outside world” and “how will you keep dad engaged?” aren’t good enough anymore.

Instead, ask your residents: What’s next for you? What are your goals and aspirations? What would you like to learn and do? And, more importantly, how can you contribute to the wider community? The answers to these questions will help you form an aspirational model of engagement for each community member. The authors indicate that reopening in a post-covid world is a unique opportunity that should not be missed.

Read more by Downloading the eBook here.

Nursing Home Staff Vaccination and Covid-19 Outcomes

The emergence of the delta variant of the covid-19 virus has raised new concerns about nursing home staff as a vector of infection among residents. This is especially true in facilities with low staff vaccination rates, but the actual relationship between staff vaccination rates and resident infection is not well studied. That is why a group of researchers used CMS data on more than 12,000 nursing homes to get some answers. That group of researchers included David Grabowski, Nexus Fellow and professor of public health at Harvard Medical School.

What they found is that in locations with high community transmission of the virus, low staff vaccination rates were associated with a 132% increase in resident cases, a 58% increase in staff cases, and a 195% increase in resident deaths. The relationships were not as strong in areas with low community transmission.

These findings were published in a letter to the editor in the December 2021 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine

Subscribe to Nexus Insights

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

How The Senior Housing Industry Is Dealing With An Increasingly Tech-enabled Population

Sarah Thomas, executive strategist in aging innovation, CEO of Delight by Design, and Nexus Fellow, shared her thoughts on the increase in technology adoption among seniors–and how senior communities are responding to the phenomenon. She points out that seniors are just like everyone else in that they have increasingly turned to technology in response to the pandemic. The main reasons for this are the increase in connectivity, more access to resources, and just plain convenience. 

“[E]ngagement with technology is on the rise in every age group,” according to Thomas. This holds true for seniors who are looking for “greater connection, greater resource access, and greater convenience.”

Senior living operators have had to respond to this change as well. According to Thomas, these groups recognized a need to “provide additional access to technology to leverage resources and connect with the community.” They also needed tech to increase staff efficiency and to disseminate information to residents and family. This led to an increase in partnerships so that things like tech support could be addressed. 

Read the full interview at Senior Housing News.

Subscribe to Nexus Insights

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

housing for solo agers

What senior living providers need to know about Solo Agers

Adult children do many things for their aging parents, including helping them find a senior community. But what about “Solo Agers”? This term was coined by author and solo aging expert Dr. Sara Zeff Geber to describe those seniors who find themselves aging alone. Dr. Geber wrote the 2018 book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers.

According to Geber, “A significant number of Boomers will not have adult children to help them with care or relocation if living independently becomes difficult or impossible.” She cites geriatric specialist Maria Carney, MD, and colleagues, who determined in 2016 that “approximately 22% of older Americans had no one to turn to in a crisis.” 

In a recent article in the International Council on Active Aging’s The Journal on Active Aging, Geber points out that, while the COVID pandemic has brought into national focus the devastating isolation of those aging alone, it also made clear that there are opportunities for senior housing communities and the aging services industry to provide for the needs of solo agers. The important first step is to understand this cohort, and their unique needs.

“I noticed many of my contemporaries were starting to spend huge chunks of time and energy helping to care for their aging parents,” said Geber. “They were chauffeuring their parents to appointments, shopping for their groceries and other essentials, monitoring their medications, arranging for home repairs, and spending considerably more time on the phone and in person with them than they had in the past.” That got Geber wondering. “Who is going to do all the above for those of us without children? More questions arose. How many of us are there? What are our options? And how should we prepare?”

Among the differences she noticed that set Solo Agers apart:

  • Solo Agers (women and men) tend to be more highly educated and to have made a good living over their lives, making them excellent candidates for higher-end senior living. 
  • Congregate living offers the advantage of built-in community, to help Solo Agers make social connections, and avoid isolation and loneliness.
  • Choosing independent living that is connected to communities that also provide options for higher levels of care can provide peace of mind to Solo Agers, who want to prepare for greater care needs in the future.
  • Many seniors find comfort in moving closer to adult children or grandchildren. Solo Agers may likewise choose proximity to loved ones, who may be extended family or friends.
  • Solo Agers have typically been living independently, as “masters of their universe” their whole lives, and will want choices for how they live that allow them to continue to learn, develop, and pursue healthy lifestyles.

What are the challenges for senior living communities? According to Geber, “the first hurdle will be selling the concept.” This involves knowing how to sell directly to seniors who may approach the community alone, and make their decisions without the assistance, encouragement or “cajoling” of adult children.

The second hurdle is to develop models of housing that appeal to Solo Agers. One good example, Geber suggests, is to build residences, such as Garden Spot Village’s Cooperative Living House, that house a small number of unrelated roommates. The home provides private bedrooms and baths for the residents and shared communal space. Roommates in these residences maintain some privacy and independence, but they also have the opportunity to develop friendships and even family-like connections, and to provide one another with mutual support, much like what happened in ”The Golden Girls” TV show from the 80s).

Another example is cohousing. Geber describes it as “generally a grassroots effort by individuals who want to create a way to live together in an intentional community.” According to Geber, “Senior cohousing is one of the fastest-growing segments of the cohousing movement.” It’s also “extremely attractive to Solo Agers.”

According to Geber, the window of opportunity has arrived. Boomers have already begun to retire, and the number of Boomers who are also Solo Agers is large and growing. “Many of these individuals will have no real need to continue ‘aging in place’ in their single-family homes,” she said. “They will remain there, however, unless senior living communities demonstrate a viable and attractive alternative—one that meets Solo Agers’ needs to maintain their social networks and participate actively in their communities.”

Download the full article here.

Subscribe to Nexus Insights

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Innovation for Senior Living

Are We Being Bold Enough? Bob Kramer Keynotes SLIF 2021

Nexus founder and Fellow Bob Kramer set the tone of this year’s Senior Living Innovation Forum by kicking off the first day of the conference with a provocative keynote speech. “Are we being bold enough?” asked Kramer. “No. The industry demands a significant shakeup.”

What does innovation mean for the next generation of senior living customers? Will they be our customers? Is increased longevity a blessing or a curse? Will the boomers be a vast resource that is both unwilling and unwanted as contributors to our society and economy? What does senior living have to do with it? And what about those who have been left behind in the longevity revolution?

According to Kramer, the upcoming generation of senior living customers “wants nothing to do with senior living” because the image that comes into their minds when they think about senior living is a negative one. It is our job, he said, to reimagine and redefine what senior living can mean for the next generation.  

His keynote set off some lively conversations and debates, with several following speakers referencing and adding further insight to Kramer’s remarks.

Other highlights of the event include a talk from Nexus Fellow and SmartLiving 360 CEO Ryan Frederick about his book, “Right Place, Right Time: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Home for the Second Half of Life” and Fellow Sarah Thomas’ interactive session on experience design.

 

Watch Bob Kramer’s entire speech:

 

Photo courtesy of Influence Group.

 

Subscribe to Nexus Insights

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Best Senior Living Listing

U.S. News partners with Activated Insights, Launches Best Senior Living Listing

Big news for the senior living industry and for consumers. U.S. News & World Report, a company widely known for its health care rankings and consumer advice, has turned its attention to the senior living industry. The company, which has more than 40 million website visitors per month, has now launched a “Best Senior Living” listing.

To accomplish this, U.S. News has partnered with research firm Activated Insights

The company plans to launch the first listing in Quarter 1 of 2022. It will recognize senior living communities in four categories: independent living, assisted living, memory care, and life plan/continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). 

In an interview with Senior Housing News, Jacquelyn Kung, CEO of Activated Insights and Nexus Fellow, said that participating communities might be recognized in tiers such as “Best” and “Recognized.” Those communities that offer different levels of care will be evaluated separately in each category. She said that the listings will help consumers, while also benefiting the industry.

“There are incredible providers in our field transforming people’s lives,” Kung said. “We want to help those communities get the recognition they deserve and help consumers find those communities that best match what they’re looking for.”

U.S. News also plans to cover the senior living sector more regularly, to help clear up consumer confusion about the different types of senior living communities and how they are distinct from nursing homes, Kung told Senior Housing News.

“We want to help communities get the recognition they deserve and help consumers find those communities that best match what they’re looking for.” – Jacquelyn Kung

“For consumers, it’s a wonderful opportunity to have such a highly regarded group of organizations taking a look at our industry and sharing information that they can trust,” said Juniper Communities CEO, Lynne Katzmann.

More than 2,500 communities have committed to participating, according to McKnight’s Senior Living. Communities that earn recognition in the U.S. News listing will benefit from high visibility, an independent quality assessment to which they can refer families, and branding elements that can be used in consumer marketing. “There are no downsides to participating in this inaugural survey,” said Kung.

The cost to participate is $995 for smaller providers and $1,495 for larger providers. According to Kung, this covers the cost of survey administration. Neither Activated Insights nor U.S. News intends to make a profit from the participation fees. 

Find out more.

Subscribe to Nexus Insights

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.