Better Together panel discusses the future of senior living

Better Together Live – the Future of Senior Living

The past 18 months have been tragic for residents of senior living communities, their families, and their staff. As we begin to gain control of the pandemic, we must begin to think about the future of senior living, and decide how to move forward to avoid the mistakes of the past. 

To answer that important question, Patrick Bultema, CEO of The Eden Alternative and Penny Cook, CEO of Pioneer Network gathered some of the leading thinkers in the industry for a podcast, entitled  “Better Together: Given the impact of COVID, what comes next?” This lively roundtable featured Lori Smetanka, Executive Director of Consumer Voice, and two Nexus Fellows, Bob Kramer, Founder & Fellow of Nexus Insights and Strategic Advisor & Co-founder of NIC and Dr. Bill Thomas, Founder of The Eden Alternative, The Greenhouse Project and Minka. Together, these five industry experts tackled the issues that ail our current aging service industry, and presented recommendations for the changes needed in order for it to succeed, going forward.

Highlights and Key Take-Aways: 

We must stop taking our frontline health care workers for granted. 

COVID has been a wake-up call. Although we cheer for hospital workers, we don’t give them enough support. They have been working the most dangerous jobs in America. We cannot go back to the days of taking frontline workers for granted. To maintain a high quality of care, the people providing services need support in the form of training, living wages and benefits, and career ladders. And there must be accountability from providers on how they are using public monies and funds.

We must create home and community-based models of care.

More than 90% of those infected contended with the illness at home, surrounded by family. Although people can care for themselves or their families at home, or receive all needed services in age-segregated congregate living settings, we have created an empty lane in the middle – between pure age segregation and pure aging in place. Access to services are needed that are focused on wellness and supported by people’s home and community-based shared benefits.”

Communities must engage residents and families in asking what they want. 

People were frantic, particularly residents and family in SNF and ALFs, for safety, isolation and inability to connect. People were being told to stay home. One of the residents in a community remarked, “But what if your home is a death trap?” 

When we look at long-term care, there isn’t a whole lot of preparation or proactive thought about what people need and want in the future. People need options, they want to be engaged in the community similar to how they lived before and they certainly don’t want to rely on the facility van to take them out. Lack of quality of life during the pandemic meant being kept in their rooms with the curtains and the door shut. These communities are not engaging residents or family in asking what they want. Residents and family should be included in the strategic planning. Which services do they want or need? It’s important to get feedback.

 

“But what if your home is a death trap?”

 

Transparency must be a requirement.

Transparency is critical. Providers may not have wanted to share information about COVID cases or deaths, and in fact, some chose to suppress that information. But family and residents needed that info to make decisions for themselves and their loved ones. 

We must rethink the way we think and talk about aging.

What do we really offer in senior living? We have to rethink our basic terminology. The way that we think about aging, health, retirement, healthcare, diversity. Many terms are ageist and self-defeating, and not what we actually want for our residents. If we don’t change something, we are going to get disrupted right out of business. Senior Living represents to boomers what they did with their parents and they want nothing to do with it. 

COVID showed us that we need to give people a sense of being connected and belonging. What are your goals in moving here? Where do you want to grow? Where do you want to contribute here. It’s wrong to think that the older you are, the more helpless you are, the less you have to give. With technology we can transform the sense of home, and help individuals remain safe, healthier and connected for longer.

 

Senior living represents to Boomers what they did with their parents, and they want nothing to do with it.

 

Funding is critical to success.

Although skilled nursing has gotten a lot of public support dollars, that’s not true of others. How many can survive with expenses way exceeding revenues? The weak have gotten weaker. Many companies do not have the funds to invest in the necessary people and technologies. When it comes specifically to long-term care, we have got to have a real conversation about how we are addressing ageism as a nation. Do we care as a nation if our elders die in poverty? If we do care, we have to figure out a way to fund long-term care. 

We must solve the caregiver crisis.

The number of family caregivers is the biggest demographic shift in this decade. It’s not the increase in the aging population, it’s the ratio of unpaid caregivers, aged 45-64, to those over 80, which is going from decreasing from a ratio of 7 to 1 to a ratio of 4 to 1 by 2030. Where will the paid caregivers come from? They are going to be more expensive. Saying everyone is going to age in place without funding will lead to an epidemic of shut-ins and loneliness in their own apartments rather than truly creating a community and honoring our elders.

 

Do we care as a nation if our elders die in poverty? If we do care, we have to figure out a way to fund long-term care.

 

People want choices, but they must be affordable.

Aging in place is something everyone wants. They want to choose where they live, whether it’s a community or in their own homes with services brought to them. There needs to be a variety of choices. Most people can’t pay 80, 90, or 100 thousand dollars for assisted living or skilled nursing. There’s a lot of waste in the system, where the dollars are being spent. People need to be a part of the decision making, planning, providing solutions for themselves. They don’t want to be put in a bed and forgotten and left, which could happen anywhere. How can the community come together to help individuals needing care? 

We must invest in social capital.

If we try to spend our way through the aging of the boomer generation, new sources of capital need to be deployed. The largest reservoir of capital is social capital. This is the good that comes into your life through your friends, family, neighbors, people that are willing to make social investments because of a relationship. The biggest issue with aging in place is aging in the right place. If you pursue a rigorous commitment to aging in place, you end up isolating people and their stock of social capital falls. If you end up with congregate care settings, they are not rich in social capital. They create some fellowship and facilitate interaction, but do not foster interdependence amongst their residents and staff – they are not set up that way. This middle lane will succeed based on new models to create, sustain, nourish and enrich social capital. Housing is important, but community is more important.

 

Watch the entire podcast:

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long-term care infrastructure op-ed in The Hill

America’s long-term care infrastructure: A road to nowhere – Op-ed in the Hill co-authored by Nexus Insights

In a recent op-ed in The Hill, Nexus Insights Fellows Anne Tumlinson, David Grabowski and Robert Kramer, raise an important point that has been missing from recent discussions around transforming long-term care following the pandemic. The Biden Administration has proposed a $400B investment in home- and community-based services (HCBS). We assert this investment is necessary but not sufficient. Without additional spending on services to help families navigate and manage long-term care services, this HCBS investment is basically a “road to nowhere.” We argue for the need to create a network of long-term care service hubs across the country to help families navigate services.

As you know, there have been A LOT of thought pieces around improving long-term care going forward, but we have not seen this point made elsewhere. Thus, we believe it would be an ideal time to make this point as policymakers consider the Biden proposal.

Excerpt:

Long-term care is complex. Few Americans plan ahead and most wait until a crisis pushes them into a frantic search for solutions. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Every day older adults lose their ability to care for themselves. Often, they are discharged from the hospital too weak or confused to be left alone or care for themselves. Now what? Who will take care of them? Is home- or facility-based care the best option? How much will it cost and who will pay? Does Medicare cover it? Does Medicaid? If home care is the answer, how do you find a qualified and affordable caregiver? Where do you even start? Life-changing decisions must be made, and fast.

Read the full op-ed in The Hill.


Anne Tumlinson is CEO of ATI Advisory and the Founder of Daughterhood. David Grabowski is Professor in the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School. Robert Kramer is the founder of Nexus Insights, and the co-founder and Strategic Advisor & former CEO of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC).

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Jay Newton-Small and Bob Kramer discuss MemoryWell and person-centered care

Putting the Person Back in Person-Centered Care: Jay Newton-Small and Bob Kramer on the Power of Data to Transform Senior Care

Are your residents truly known, valued, and seen as people by your staff? Are they known as more than the sum of their ADL needs or underlying health conditions? 

Bob Kramer, Founder & Fellow at Nexus Insights and Co-founder and Strategic Advisor for NIC, talked with Jay Newton-Small, founder and CEO of MemoryWell and Nexus Fellow, about the value of data to deliver improved care and quality of life for residents of senior living.

A TIME contributor, Newton-Small developed the concept for MemoryWell from her own experience with her father. She wrote a narrative story of his life to help his care staff understand him better, and to provide better, more personalized care. 

Now her company has taken it further, working with senior living communities to foster connections between residents and other residents, and between residents and staff, based on connections, interests, lifestyle, and historical experiences revealed by their life stories. The company is able to help communities understand what services are needed, and who would most likely use or benefit from those services. 

“We shine the light to help you see who are the people you’re serving.” – Jay Newton-Small

“Where we are now is a shot in the dark,” said Newton-Small. “We shine the light to help you see who are the people you’re serving. So you can market, plan, sell and care for these people in a more focused way, that takes the guesswork out of it.”

The data has other powerful uses as well, which Newton-Small describes in the interview, which aired on Foresight TV. It can be used to get to the root causes of health issues. And, when aggregated, can be used in a predictive way, to help with prevention. “Right now our health care system is a reactive system. It’s an incredibly expensive system because we react to a problem,” said Newton-Small. “But if we know that a problem is coming down the pike and we can match people with resources that are available, then we can delay, defer and even sometimes prevent those problems from happening.”

See the whole interview.

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alternatives for senior living

Dr. Bill Thomas Leads the Way with Better Alternatives for Senior Living

Geriatrician Bill Thomas is renowned for his innovative thinking, which has helped transform the industry’s understanding of aging, aging services, and senior living. Dr. Thomas is a Nexus Insights Fellow and founder of The Eden Alternative, The Green House Project, and Minka. Not one to rest on his laurels, Thomas 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.

He took the insights gained during his travels to apply towards three important initiatives: Lifespark, Kallimos Communities, and Canopy. Each one designed to upend traditional approaches to senior living. Each one is designed to put the resident at the center of the solution.

Thomas has recently been named the Chief Independence Officer of Lifespark, a company taking a state-of-the-art approach to senior housing and services. This title reflects Lifespark’s approach to seniors, and their efforts to improve quality of life for seniors, by providing a more holistic and wellness-centered experience. Lifespark integrates housing with home and community-based services, and recognizes the uniqueness of each resident and their individual life goals.

Lifespark acquired Tealwood Senior Living, a Minnesota-based company with 35 senior living communities across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Included are three communities offering skilled nursing services, where Lifespark plans to test its innovative approach. The goal is to provide continuity of care, to make it possible for residents to receive care in their own homes, and to reduce the need for care at hospitals or clinics. The result will help seniors retain their independence longer, be healthier and lead richer lives.

“One-hundred percent of the people living in [senior living communities] need access to primary care, and over time an increasingly high percentage of them need access to supports and services,” said Thomas in an interview with Senior Housing News. “What if a provider of housing is able to wrap the housing access around to primary care and supported services? That’s what’s coming down the pike.”

Thomas’s second initiative is Kallimos Communities, an affordable multi-generational community. The vision for Kallimos is to improve wellness and reduce loneliness for its residents at an affordable cost, by encouraging neighborliness and multigenerational shared housing. “Some of the loneliest elders in America live at home on streets filled with houses but without friends, family, or neighbors as part of their daily life,” Thomas said. “Large senior living buildings offer a solution for some but can be expensive and often carry the stigma of being “old folks’ homes.”

“Let’s create a model that’s actually based on one of the oldest ideas we have, which is people living in their own homes.” –  Dr. Bill Thomas

Each Kallimos community consists of “pocket neighborhoods,” which will have up to 50 small homes clustered around a shared green space. The communities will include public amenities, such as small shops for basic goods and services, gathering areas and swimming pools. Along with traditional administrative staff, the communities will include “weavers”, designated staff who have the job of  encouraging connections among residents, and supporting residents in achieving their health and life goals. Additional staff known as “keepers” will maintain the indoor and outdoor areas, and may be responsible for cooking and gardening.

Two initial Kallimos communities in Colorado and Texas are in early stages of development. The design is based on a set of principles introduced by Thomas, and further developed by the University of Southern Indiana, called MAGIC (multi-ability, multi-generational, inclusive communities.) The homes will be compact, and designed with features and technology that will support aging in place.

The COVID-19 pandemic also cast a glaring spotlight on disadvantages of traditional senior living, with elders clustered together in one large building. This clustering put elderly residents, who were in the highest risk category for severe illness and death from the disease, at a much greater risk for exposure to the disease.

Deinstitutionalization of the nation’s nursing homes was a clear answer which led to Dr. Thomas’ involvement in Canopy, a joint project with Signature Healthcare. Canopy has many similarities to Kallimos. Canopy communities are a cluster of small, close together ADA-accessible houses, focusing on the importance of neighborhoods. Services, such as assistance with many activities of daily living, is typically a component of nursing home living. For people living in Canopy, services will be provided efficiently within the residents’ homes. And in many cases, neighbors can help neighbors.

“I’m saying, let’s go beyond, let’s move past the era of mass institutionalization,” said Thomas, in an interview with Politico. “Let’s create a model that’s actually based on one of the oldest ideas we have, which is people living in their own homes.”

In fact, funding for non-medical services, such as rides to the grocery store, help prepping meals, and meal delivery, have recently started being covered by private Medicare plans. The trend toward increasing coverage of home and community-based services (HCBS) is expected to continue. “The pendulum’s swinging to home and community-based services,” said Thomas. “And in order to make those services really work, we need better homes and better communities — and that’s what Canopy is designed to provide.”

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David Grabowski presents a podcast on rethinking long-term care

Grabowski Spotlighted on Disrupt Podcast: Rethinking Long-Term Care in the US

The nation’s infrastructure has become a hot topic, as the Biden administration lays out its infrastructure plan. Long-term care for the growing senior population is one of the areas for proposed investment, which may be a surprise to some, but not to those in the industry. Rethinking long-term care for our nation’s rapidly aging population is an urgent problem, but addressing it effectively is a complex one.

David Grabowski, Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and a Nexus Insights Fellow, was interviewed recently on his thoughts and recommendations for the reformation of long-term care in the United States. Grabowski is a key figure in the research, policy and media world, with expertise in the economics of aging, Medicare, and the integration and coordination of care for dually-eligible beneficiaries. He’s a member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC), a well-known expert in the post-acute care services realm and a leading speaker on industry publications and newscasts around the world. 

Grabowski’s recommendations range from a unified post-acute payment system to changing up the traditional nursing home model and investing more heavily in home-based care. He compares the United States to other developed countries for home and community-based services spending, considers why investment in nursing homes and home care services is not an either-or proposition, and explores the future of SNF-at-home programs.

Listen to Grabowski’s Interview: A part of the Home Health Care News podcast series Disrupt. 

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Bob Kramer and Anne Tumlinson discuss HCBS

Foresight TV: Bob Kramer & Anne Tumlinson – What Does HCBS Mean For LTC?

With the federal government considering an investment in the country’s infrastructure, a new light has been shed on the importance of infrastructure. And from the resulting discussion, a broader understanding of what is vital infrastructure is emerging. That infrastructure necessarily includes a system of long-term care for the nation’s aging population and a trained workforce to deliver that care.

“We have an outdated, crumbling infrastructure in nursing homes. We have non-existent infrastructure in home and community-based services (HCBS). And we have millions of older adults living longer, many of whom will need services and supports,” said Bob Kramer, Founder and Fellow for Nexus Insights, and Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor for the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC).

Kramer recently interviewed long-term care expert Anne Tumlinson about the importance of long-term care and changes needed in how it’s delivered and how it’s paid for. Tumlinson, the Founder and CEO of ATI Advisory, and Founder of daughterhood.org, offered recommendations for the policy changes needed to make long-term care financially viable for more seniors and their families. Her recommendations also addressed the critical need for a living wage for the shrinking pool of caregivers who work in long-term care, and the important role of HCBS in helping seniors thrive.

“We don’t have a system; instead, every single family has to create their own system, over and over again. What is out there that could help me? How do I find it, set it up, coordinate it? There is currently no system or function in our society to handle that,“ said Tumlinson.

The interview was hosted by Senior Living Foresight. View the entire discussion.

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Sarah Thomas joins Sentrics Advisory Council

Nexus Insights Fellow Sarah Thomas joins Sentrics Advisory Council

Sentrics, an emerging technology leader in the senior living industry, has welcomed Sarah Thomas, CEO of Delight by Design and Nexus Insights Fellow, to its Advisory Council. Thomas is an accomplished leader and innovator, with nearly 20 years of experience as a global aging expert, advising startups, large corporations and investors. Her technology perspective is shaped by her experience helping some of the largest senior living companies develop and implement strategic change management initiatives and innovative human potential products.

“Sarah Thomas has consistently intersected technology and aging to transform the aging experience,” said Darin LeGrange, CEO of Sentrics. “Her first-hand knowledge launching solutions that are more purpose-driven will help us address the ongoing need for usability, portability, simplicity and the ultimate engagement of the resident, family and healthcare ecosystem.”

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Sentrics helps senior living communities nationwide transform into more sophisticated, clinically oriented, risk-management businesses. Its Sentrics360 suite creates a 360-degree view—physical, medical, social and behavioral—of the wellbeing of each resident. Sentrics systems collect vital data, while machine learning and AI analyze and interpret the data, empowering families, senior living communities, and healthcare providers to make the best care decisions and optimize their operations. 

“The best way to support an age-inclusive experience is to integrate technology and the human touch,” said Thomas. “Sentrics is pushing senior living forward by acquiring and developing technology that puts the residents at the center of everything it does. This human-centric, purpose-driven design makes technology more accessible and adoptable.”

See the full press release

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meaningful reform in nursing homes

Seize the moment: Bob Kramer lays out path for meaningful reform in nursing homes in new Health Affairs blog

“The American long-term care system, particularly in skilled nursing facilities, has been exposed as deeply flawed, chronically underfunded, and in need of reform.” This bold statement is from Robert Kramer, Founder and Fellow of Nexus Insights, and Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor for NIC. It’s the opening line of his recent blog in Health Affairs.

Kramer delves deeply into the urgent problems facing nursing homes that have been spotlighted on the national stage by the pandemic and its tragic death toll among nursing home residents and staff. Kramer predicts the likely responses we can expect to see from nursing home operators, federal and state regulators and policy makers, and seniors and their families. But he urges, instead, a more thoughtful, complex and multi-faceted approach to solving the challenges of long-term care in nursing homes that involves dispensing with out-of-date assumptions, acknowledging the problems, and aligning the different stakeholders involved.

The problems he sees stem from undervaluing and undercompensating the work of caregivers, and the too-narrow focus of regulatory metrics on physical care needs, rather than the personal goals and aspirations of the residents themselves, and their quality of life. Other challenging problems include the long-term shortage of caregivers for a rapidly growing population of seniors, the lack of financial transparency, inadequate reimbursement models that incentivize the wrong behaviors, the age of nursing home infrastructure, and the financial impact of the COVID-19-related lawsuits that are certain to hit the beleaguered industry as the pandemic winds down.

“Every stakeholder must understand that this is a disruptive moment.” – Bob Kramer

The solutions Kramer proposes will require thoughtful cooperation and coordination among all the players in the industry, including industry providers, organized labor, consumer advocates, investors, and regulators. And it won’t be easy. But as Kramer points out, “Every stakeholder must understand that this is a disruptive moment. SNFs and long-term care are, for a moment, center stage. Those of us who care about this sector, and the millions of Americans it serves, must seize this moment.”

Link to full blog

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Jody Holtzman interview

Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the Longevity and Aging Industry – A Jody Holtzman Interview

COVID-19 has been a tremendous challenge for everyone, but it has shone an especially bright spotlight on how underserved our aging population really is. We sat down with Senior Managing Partner at Longevity Venture Advisers, Jody Holtzman, to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities in the longevity and aging industry in this new world.

Jody is a well known leader in the aging and longevity world, having spent the past 15+ years in the field, preceded by a career in strategy consulting. His work in aging includes a 12 year stint at AARP where he ran research and was senior vice president of thought leadership and market innovation. 

 

NEXUS INSIGHTS – You have spoken about Baby Boomers and their lack of interest in traditional long-term care communities, especially assisted living. Tell us more about that.

JH – First, it is hard to generalize when you are talking about a population of just over 70 million people, which is the current Boomer population in the US. That’s more people than in the UK, France, or Italy. So, let’s just establish that one size does not fit all and there will always be a segment of Boomers for whom traditional long-term care settings are attractive. However, even before the pandemic, occupancy rates across independent and assisted living already were at a low, while the age of new residents continued to climb well into the 80s. And the mental image and mental model of long-term care communities for Boomers was one of nursing homes where people are warehoused to die. Since the pandemic this image has only been deepened as Boomers saw nursing home death rates, as well as experienced such with their own older loved ones.

There also is something else going on when we look at how Boomers view long-term care. And that is, they simply do not see themselves in those settings. It does not jive with their own self-image. This came out in spades to me the first time I spoke to a LeadingAge conference and did this exercise with the audience. I asked everyone to stand if they proudly participate in the management of any type of long-term care community. Three hundred and fifty people jumped up. Smiles all around! Then, I asked them to remain standing “if you are looking forward to the day you live in your own facility.” And the overwhelming majority of the audience sat down. These were people on the front lines of senior living, committed to making life better for older people. But they also, overwhelmingly, were Baby Boomers. And they did not see themselves in senior living. So, something has to change.

There is something else going on when we look at how Boomers view long-term care. And that is, they simply do not see themselves in those settings. – Jody Holtzman

NEXUS INSIGHTS – You talk about how the pandemic has shaped how and where health and healthcare happen. Tell us about the trends that you are seeing.

JH – Trends over the past year, both within and outside senior living, have increasingly confirmed that the home is and will continue to be the focus of health, care, and connected living. The growing consensus across the healthcare community got a boost from the orientation embedded in the concept of social determinants of health (SDOH) which is encapsulated in the view that health is a function of one’s zip code and the conditions of life in a geographic area. Health is now, officially, “beyond medicine.”

In parallel with the new focus on SDOH over the past year, digital health has exploded. While the health benefits of home-based care were being proven, along comes COVID and people are told to lock down and remain in their homes. Telehealth, telemedicine, and other virtual communications, became the dominant market response in healthcare and society more broadly. All in combination reinforcing the centrality of the Home and further boosting demand for more home and community-based products and services.

 

NEXUS INSIGHTS – You work with a lot of healthcare companies in the aging space. How are they dealing with these new trends and market opportunities?

JH – In response to the pandemic, and to both longstanding needs and those recognized by looking at health through the lens of SDOH, CMS has added a growing list of non-traditional, supplemental benefits that may be reimbursed through Medicare Advantage, but not traditional Medicare. Startups and others have responded with an array of new offerings covered by new reimbursement codes. And MA plans have been increasingly adding them to services already offered in their plans. While payers have had the near-term benefit of attracting new customers through product/service-based competitive differentiation during Open Season, the longer-term health benefits and attendant cost savings have yet to be proven. And this brings us to a dilemma. While the need and availability of a growing list of technology-enabled products and services has been established, customer/patient adoption is still low, and returns on investment have been as well.

For startups, this is concerning because, in many cases, they are being directed by investors and others to build their channel strategies around Medicare Advantage. Even if the deals with payers are all gain-share arrangements without requiring cash outlays by the payers, they still are making an investment in time and dedicated resources, if only to track progress. The question needs to be asked and monitored – how long will MA plans include offerings that garner limited customer uptake? If nothing else, the current terrain calls for a diversified go-to-market strategy that is not solely dependent on Medicare Advantage.

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Stop calling them facilities

Why are We Still Dropping the “F-Bomb”?

If you’ve seen the movie A Christmas Story, you likely remember the scene in which 9-year-old Ralphie is helping his dad change a tire on the side of the road on a dark snowy night. Ralphie is so excited to help but he drops the lug nuts and loses them in the snow. In frustration, he yells out “Fuuuuudggge!” Ralphie then explains through narration, “…only I didn’t say fudge. I said THE word. The queen mother of all dirty words – the F-dash-dash-dash word!” Ralphie ends up being punished with a bar of soap in his mouth.

That’s how we should view the word ‘facility’. As the queen mother of all dirty words: the F-bomb.

Do you dream of living in a facility? Of course not! Facilities are cold institutions where humanity and the human spirit wither and die. Why then do we use this awful term to describe the places older people live and receive support? It denigrates residents and team members alike, yet it’s sprinkled generously throughout the narrative of senior living – by government regulators, by leaders in the field, and even by people living and working in communities.

At Christian Living Communities-Cappella Living Solutions, we’re on a mission to ban the F-bomb because, as Dr. Bill Thomas, Founder of the Eden Alternative, has said time and time again, “words make worlds”.

Our words drive our beliefs and behaviors. Call a building a facility and people will act like they live and work in a facility. Call it a community and the seeds of change are planted.

Community is a word filled with promise, with hope, and with citizenship. In a community everyone is valued and has a role to play. This is the type of culture we strive to build in each CLC-Cappella community. Yes, we provide excellent care and services, but we also purposefully create environments where each person has autonomy, a deep sense of belonging, continued growth and meaningful purpose.

It’s time to eradicate “facility” from our vocabulary and start using words that honor elderhood. So, bust out the soap, implement a “swear jar” if you want. Let’s start changing our world through the words we use.

Written by: Jill Vitale-Aussem, President and CEO of CLC-Cappella Living Solutions and Nexus Insights Fellow

Originally posted in Christian Living Communities.

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