Intergenerational Programming Popular But Not Substantive in Senior Housing Communities

Posted by CC Andrews

Feb 1, 2018 10:20:25 PM

Despite the fact that many senior housing providers have incorporated intergenerational activities into their overall programming and see positive benefits for residents and youths, most of those programs are short-term or one-time events that don’t require a major commitment of time. So says a recent report from reading-with-grandmother-in-wheelchair-1432646-638x425Generations United and LeadingAge that distills the results of a year-long study on the nature and extent of intergeneration programming in senior housing.

Titled Intergenerational Programming in Senior Housing: From Promise to Practice, this long overdue initiative examines why, how, and what providers are doing to implement intergenerational programs, including partnerships, activities, participant engagement, evaluation, staffing, and funding/sustainability.

The most common activities taking place at provider communities are “friendly visiting,” arts programming, health and wellness activities, oral history/reminiscence interviewing, and language/literacy programs.

Here are some more key findings:

  • Most housing sites, with some exceptions, focus on engaging residents in specific activities, rather than employing more general strategies to foster cross-age relationships.
  • Residents engage in both active and passive activities and, although residents at some properties are actively involved in planning and implementing programs, members of the housing team plan most activities.
  • Most providers have not identified clear outcomes for older adults or youth, nor have they conducted formal program evaluations.
  • There is limited training of staff and volunteers.

The report also identifies both challenges and effective strategies for overcoming barriers to implementing IG program. Some of those challenges are as follows:

  • Insufficient staffing dedicated to IG programming;
  • Difficulties with engaging older adults;
  • Transportation for both youth and elders; and
  • Lack of time to plan activities with partners due to other responsibilities.

Among the most valuable components of the report are the effective strategies that providers have identified in helping them overcome challenges. Here is a sampling:

  • Utilizing a Volunteer Coordinator or Outreach Manager to develop partnerships and oversee intergenerational-related work has helped to alleviate staffing concerns.
  • Recruiting and training “Lead Volunteers” who can help with activities.
  • Involving staff from partner organizations in planning and facilitating activities.
  • Creating an intergenerational advisory group to help plan and implement programs.
  • Including the marketing department in planning so it can market the program as a property asset.
  • Allowing the community’s property van to pick students up from school.
  • Engaging all partners in short and long-term planning to enhance the quality of programs and ensure that those programs meet the needs of all age groups.
  • Holding regular meetings to provide partners an opportunity to creatively address logistical concerns that could prevent a program’s successful implementation.
  • Planning meaningful programs and activities that are explicitly designed to address the needs, interests and knowledge/skills of participants.
  • Finding partners that have shared interests and values, or a common need that can be met through

The conclusion of the report—which is not difficult to surmise based on the findings—is that while many senior housing providers are engaged in intergenerational programming, it appears the majority of the programs do not rise to the level of being high-quality.

As someone who has long advocated for intergenerational programs in senior living, I hope this will change in the near future, as we continue to hurdle ever so rapidly toward a world where elders will dominate the population.

If you want a focused approach to staying on top of industry trends that is facilitated by experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today.


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Topics: senior housing, intergenerational

Your Cheat Sheet for 2018 Senior Living Trends & Predictions

Posted by Meg LaPorte

Jan 18, 2018 12:00:00 AM

It’s another new year and that means new forecasts about trends in aging services. Instead of making my own crystal ball predictions, I examined some trusted sources and digested them for you. Following is my take on 2018, based on the many predictions put forth already:

Predictions 2018

1. Staffing and Workforce Issues

Lisa McCracken, senior vice president of senior living research and development for specialty bank Ziegler, offered her projections for McKnight’s Senior Living. She found that while it may not be a surprise that staffing and workforce issues will remain at the forefront of challenges for providers, she believes that skilled nursing and post-acute providers face a “’perfect storm’ of an increasing minimum wage, numerous retirements, and evolving staffing requirements due to changes in the resident/patient mix, healthcare reform, and other issues.” To address the problem, she cites operators that have created pools of staff members from which they can draw as needed. While this sounds like a modified staffing agency (the chronic use of which is generally frowned upon), they may be onto something. A recently launched company known as CareForce Elite is a staffing firm that caters only to long-term and post-acute care. Founded by two former nursing home CNAs, the company specializes in training their CNAs in geriatrics and long term care. Whether this represents a trend, I am not certain, but it does represent an innovative solution to an age-old challenge.

Also weighing in on workforce concerns in the year ahead was Andy Smith, president and CEO of Brookdale Senior Living, who told Senior Housing News that demand for talented, dedicated employees will keep growing in 2018. “We are in an environment where new jobs are being created and unemployment rates are dropping, so companies will have to step up to improve and communicate about the employee value proposition they offer,” he said. “This employee value proposition is not just about the job, the wages or the benefits, but also about the culture, growth opportunities, and the leadership offered.”

Doug Leidig, president and CEO of Asbury Communities, also gave a nod to staffing and workforce issues in 2018 with a prediction that companies will offer “creative adjustments and changes in benefits to attract a new workforce.”

2. Technology

Surprise, surprise—the continued adoption of technology among senior living operators is also in the forecast—and for good reason. One source suggests that the ubiquity of wearables, watches, gaming consoles, Alexa, Siri, Sonos, Netflix, and other streaming services will require throttling, or intentionally slowing down of community networks, in order to minimize bandwidth congestion on a campus or within a building. The byproduct of this could be tiered pricing of services, a la cable companies, the source suggests. Another factor that could have an impact on such services is the reversal of net-neutrality, as it will bring greater uncertainty around how content is delivered to senior living communities and its residents.

3. Design

Senior Housing News notes that with such dramatic shifts for owners and operators in 2017, skilled nursing is “rebooting” thanks to aging skilled nursing buildings that are motivating owners, operators, and developers to “rethink how to use these obsolete buildings to propel future 

growth and adjust strategies for their existing buildings and campuses.” While not an earth-shattering discovery, the author believes that “SNF 3.0 may mean repurposing or converting existing nursing homes into assisted living and memory care units.”

Another points to new campus developments that are designed and completed without the SNF component “to round out the continuum of care as operators are choosing instead to partner with local skilled nursing and post-acute providers.”

Yet another soothsayer envisions that builders and operators will continue to seek innovative alternatives to traditional housing models. According to a Senior Housing News survey, this means units that are getting smaller, not bigger. The end result of this approach is ostensibly more affordability. The examples offered include Benchmark Living’s newest community in North Attleboro, Mass., where two resident units share a common space, “creating roommate dwellings the company likens to college suitemates.” Another example is Dr. Bill Thomas’ Minka project, which is a small, modular home with a universal design. Thomas is promoting Minka as part of his MAGIC approach (multi-ability/multi-generational inclusive communities)—small dwellings that will be constructed at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville.

4. Dining
It’s also not a surprise that innovations in dining have been a major focus for operators across all sectors within the industry, with some believing that it will continue to be a drive for marketing and satisfaction ratings. In my opinion, the takeaway here is that many dining operations are now beginning to mirror their local restaurant counterparts. “No longer is the restaurant-style approach a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have in order to remain competitive,” Senior Housing News reports. In other words, a cheap rip-off of Starbucks will not cut it. That said, the authors cited a CCRC that opened its station-style restaurant to the surrounding community for paid lunches. One assisted living community in California holds its own “Taste of” event each year. “Those who stop by for a sample of the food are motivated to ask where they can get a sit-down meal—and presto!” The idea is that such endeavors can create excellent leads.

Another clever marketing effort is the use of branding as a way to stand out from the crowd. Apparently, some senior living companies are creating house-branded coffee, wine, signature sauces, desserts, and more, thus “inciting pride among residents who enjoy an exclusive and individual experiences.”

5. Partnerships and Collaboration

Sean Kelly, president and CEO of the Kendal Corporation, believes that providers will be compelled by market forces to “establish deeper partnerships with hospital systems, institutions of higher learning, and community organizations.” He alludes to the importance of fostering communities on or off of a campus “where residents and staff are engaged in meaningful ways with one another and the wider world.”

Asbury’s Leidig suggested that more and more competitors will take on partnerships. For example, he says, CCRCs “will join together to offer services both on their campuses and outside the walls to reduce duplication of services, create efficiencies, and increase market share.” He says he expects much more actual collaboration activity between hospitals and CCRCs, “versus just talking about it.”

My own prediction: Innovative intergenerational programs that involve individuals of all ages will explode within the senior living sector, especially in assisted living. As my colleague cites in another post, the most common activities taking place in this sector are “friendly visiting,” arts programming, health and wellness activities, oral history/reminiscence interviewing, and language/literacy programs.” These are great but there needs to be more substantive and innovative approaches, such as new housing models and new collaborations, to bringing generations today.

If you want a focused approach to staying on top of industry trends that is facilitated by experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today.

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5 Ways to Obtain Brand Differentiation with Membership and Trade Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Jan 11, 2018 10:42:00 AM

In two recent blog posts , I reported the results of a study by a large trade association of its corporate partners. Interviews with corporate partners revealed that the companies expected three value propositions from the association: positioning as a knowledge leader; business development opportunities, and brand differentiation. The previous blog posts addressed how companies can be positioned as knowledge leaders and how companies can obtain business development opportunities with associations.

How does a company—especially a company that is a corporate sponsor or partner with an association—achieve brand differentiation?

The first step is to identify the brand identify or differentiation you’d like to achieve. What might the association’s members misunderstand or misperceive about your company? What would you like the association’s members to know and say about your company?

Second, how do you differentiate your company from your competition? What is your company’s “edge”?

Third, identify your company’s biggest challenges in getting the message about your company’s brand identity to members of the association.


Approach your contact on the staff of each association your company supports and ask about opportunities to assert brand differentiation:

1. Establish your company’s brand on the association’s

website and other digital media. Ask if the association will create a presence for your company to recognize your expertise and products/services for members. Consider including a video about the solutions your company offers to members.

2. Gain brand visibility among attendees at the association’s conferences. Ask if there are any special activities, events, or features at the conference that your company can brand or co-brand with the association. Are there are opportunities to introduce a general session speaker or moderate education sessions? Perhaps your company can sponsor the conference app, charging stations, entertainment, coffee break, fitness/wellness activity, name badge lanyards, shuttle buses, or wi-fi service. It will be beneficial if you can customize the opportunity—for example providing coffee cup sleeves including your company’s logo at the coffee break. Or connect the opportunity to your company’s services, such as a healthcare company sponsoring the fitness/wellness activity.

3. Seek ongoing brand visibility among the association’s members. Ask if any naming rights are available, for example, a conference room in the association’s office, an annual award might include your brand’s name, or a new initiative might be available for cobranding.

4. Dominate in established resources. If the association has a business directory, ask about enhanced listing or preferred online search result placement to focus more attention on your company.

5. Gain visibility through recognition. Identify award programs that might be a fit for the nomination of your company. Ask the association to nominate you, or perhaps your company and the association can submit an award nomination together for a joint project.

Remember, brand building starts at home: Consider what your company can do with its existing resources to gain recognition for your support of an association. For example, include information about your support of and collaboration with the association on your company website and in your communications with your customers or clients. If there is an approved seal, incorporate it into your materials. If you have a showroom or meeting room that is frequented by customers or clients, post a sign noting your proud support of the association. Ensure that customers and prospects affiliated with an association are aware of your support. It can be an influencer when it comes time to select you over your competition.

If you would like more information on how your company can position itself to achieve your brand differentiation goals with associations and their members, please contact Quantum Age today.

To learn more about the benefits of partnering with associations, read:[6 Ways to Achieve your Business Development Goals with Membership and Trade Associations]

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#2 Business Development

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Topics: Associations,, Branding, Business

Up and Coming Housing Options for Older Adults are Making their Mark in the Longevity Economy

Posted by CC Andrews

Jan 4, 2018 12:00:00 AM

The future of senior housing is at a turning point in history: traditional bricks and mortar, campus-like communities (a la CCRCs) are waning in popularity

milagro2005 cohousing

and baby boomers aren’t waiting around to see what’s next. A burgeoning cadre of alternative housing options for older adults is gaining in popularity and those in the business of building and managing massive CCRCs may want to take another look at their tried and true models.

From cohousing to roommate matching, entrepreneurs and startups are capitalizing on the longevity economy with the creation of more innovative options for seniors, some of which are creating new markets. Herewith, a selection of some emerging models causing a stir:

1. Cohousing. Probably the most well established housing alternative for older adults, cohousing communities are “intentional, collaborative neighborhoods created with a little ingenuity,” according to the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US), which maintains an inventory of cohousing sites around the country and offers resources in the form of blogs, videos, and policy. Described as bringing together “the value of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living,” the cohousing model is an intentional community where residents are enlisted to participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods and share common facilities. In the United States, the majority of cohousing communities range in size from 20 to 40 units, with others comprising between seven and 67 homes.

The popularity of cohousing communities that intentionally include older adults is gradually increasing. These are age-friendly communities that are proactively designed, or retrofitted to support aging in community and some level of co-care for aging members. According to Coho/US, the grounds and buildings of intentional senior cohousing communities incorporate universal design and an outreach/advocacy program is put in place. What’s more, the community policies are written or changed to easily adapt to the changing needs and abilities of community members, regardless of their age or circumstance.

2. Coliving According to, this model is defined as “shared housing designed to support a purpose-driven life.” More specifically, coliving residents unite around a common interest to collaboratively manage a space, share resources, and coordinate activities that contribute creatively and intellectually to the world around them. Coliving houses typically offer short-term accommodations and host “outward facing events” that connect residents with the broader community. Among the people who choose coliving, the site explains, are professionals, makers, entrepreneurs, artists, and creatives.

Soon to be added to that list are aging baby boomers, if coliving startup Ollie is any indication. With just three sites in operation—two in New York City and one in Pittsburgh—Ollie Founder Chris Bledsoe says about 20 percent of their customers are baby boomers, while 30 to 35 percent are non-Millennials (meaning GenXers and older). He says his model is “changing the definition of what it is to be a neighbor.” How so? “We’re creating and fostering those connections with neighbors in our communities,” he says, noting that Ollie is built around the following values: inclusiveness, wellness, sustainability, and discovery. Discovery, he says, is the pursuit of lifelong learning and getaway excursions such as rafting or hiking—the outward facing events that foster connectivity within communities.

Also appealing to baby boomers (and soon GenXers), is a vision that Bledsoe has for the company. Once he has established coliving communities in a number of cities around the country (Boston, Los Angeles, and possibly D.C. are on the list) he would like to see customers utilize the communities as a network that enables them to visit each city for several months at a time.

3. Airbnb. This is obviously a brand, but the company’s pioneer model has set the standard for creating short-term housing that accommodates travelers who are looking for a more authentic experience in the city of their destination. In a post last month, I note that Chip Conley, former global head of hospitality and strategy for Airbnb, who spoke at a recent conference on the longevity economy, noted that the fastest-growing group of Aribnb hosts is adults 50 years and older. The reason behind this is that many people who are over 50 own their own home, are empty nesters, have extra rooms in their homes, and want to add to their retirement income. (These Airbnb hosts also have the highest guest ratings, Conley said.)

The Airbnb model has opened the door for other short-term housing models to step into and create a niche for older adults who are, perhaps, looking for a nomadic retirement.

4. Silvernest. Simply put, Silvernest is a roommate matching service on steroids. I view it as a combination of dating site and Craigslist. An older adult who is looking for a perfect roommate to fill their empty nest completes a profile. Silvernest then conducts an “in-depth” background check and employs a proprietary matching tool that “puts roommate compatibility first.” Once you are “matched” with a roommate, Silvernest offers a range of services, from “hassle-free lease drafting” to automated rent collection.

Silvernest is now active in 15 cities, eight of which are in Colorado, five in California, and one each in Florida and Arizona. The company has plans to expand to four additional cities: East Lansing, Mich.; San Francisco; Boston; and Seattle.

Bill Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative and the Green House Project, recently launched a new initiative he calls MAGIC. According to a Senior Housing News article, the acronym stands for multi-ability/multi-generational inclusive communities. The first MAGIC development is being constructed at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville.

There are no doubt more models in the works, and some on the brink of invention. If I were a senior living owner or operator, I would watch and learn from these innovators and perhaps take a lesson or two in thinking outside the box.

If you want a focused approach to staying on top of industry trends that is facilitated by experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today.

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6 Ways to Achieve your Business Development Goals with Membership and Trade Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Dec 29, 2017 10:34:00 AM

In a recent blog post, I reported the results of a study by a large trade association of its corporate partners. Interviews with corporate partners revealed that the companies expected three value propositions from the association: positioning as a knowledge leader; business development opportunities, and brand differentiation. The previous blog post addressed how companies can be positioned as knowledge leaders with associations.

How does a company—especially a company that is a corporate sponsor or partner with an association—obtain business development opportunities?

The first step is to identify your business development goals related to members of the association. What are your sales goals? What is your return on investment goal?

Second, identify your company’s biggest challenges, barriers, and obstacles when it comes to marketing to the association’s members.

Working Hard-1.jpg

Third, identify the business development strategies that have proven most effective for your company. For example, is your sales team most successful with trade shows, advertising, direct marketing, webinars, content marketing, events, social media, etc.?

Armed with this information, it’s time to approach your contact on the staff of each association your company supports. Ask about opportunities that could result in business development for your company, with the following six tactics in mind. Note: Although the desired end result is new business, be sure that the content you provide for the first three strategies below should be educational in nature, not sales pitches.

1. Reach a targeted group of members. For example, you may determine that members with a certain title; in a particular business sector; or with a particular area of interest (technology or quality improvement perhaps) are your best prospects. Explore doing a presentation on a topic of interest for this group at one of their face-to-face meetings or perhaps via webinar (or both).

2. The association might have listservs of members that are part of a particular group or share an interest in a topic. Provide the listserv’s members with a white paper or other information on a topic that would appeal to the group.

3. If you are interested in reaching members in a particular metropolitan area, the association might work with your company to convene some of these members for a seminar or forum in their city.

4. Identify association members that are—and are not—your customers. Ask the association if they can cross-match their membership list with your client list to identify prospective new customers.

5. Arrange to have a private conversation with a prospective client at a large conference. Big conference hotels and convention centers are often not conducive to small, private meetings. Ask the association if they can provide you with access to a meeting room in a convenient location.

6. Consider doing business with the association’s other corporate partners. Perhaps you offer a product or service that other corporate partners would want to purchase for their company or their employees. Or maybe you could engage in a joint marketing venture with one of the association’s other corporate partners. Ask the association if they would introduce you to particular partners or arrange for a meeting of all the association’s corporate partners.

By working with your association partners in a strategic and methodical way, you should notice a solid uptick in business development opportunities attributable to the relationship.

If you would like more information on how your company can position itself to achieve your business develop goals with associations and their members, please contact Quantum Age today.

To learn more about the benefits of association affiliations, read:

[Why and How to Position Your Company as a Knowledge Leader through Associations]

#1 Knowledge Leader

#3 Brand Differentiation

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Topics: Associations,, Branding, Business

Why and How to Position Your Company as a Knowledge Leader through Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Dec 19, 2017 10:18:00 AM

Several years ago, a large trade association hired a consultant to interview each of the association’s corporate sponsors to determine their level of satisfaction in their engagement with the organization. Some of the results were quite revealing.

 The consultant reported that all of the association’s corporate sponsors were in almost complete agreement on the three value propositions they expected from the association. All of the companies desired business development opportunities and brand differentiation as a top-level sponsor. No big surprise.

 BLOCKS (1).jpgThe next big reason these companies sponsored the association was knowledge leadership. They wanted to be positioned as problem solvers and idea generators in addition to selling products and services. They wanted to help members face challenges and improve operations.

How does a company position itself as a knowledge leader with associations that represent the company’s customers and prospective customers?

The first step is to sincerely position yourself as a knowledge leader. If you “wave the knowledge leader banner” while hawking your product or service, you probably won’t succeed. The association’s staff and members can smell sales pitches a mile away.

Positioning your company as a knowledge leader may ultimately lead to sales, however, if your primary goal is selling, you won’t be viewed as a knowledge leader.

Next, you’ll want to find out what kinds of knowledge the association and its members need. Ask your contact at each association you’re engaged with if they or someone else on staff can talk with you about key issues facing members. The “what keeps members up at night?” issues. The latest regulatory issues? Shifts in payment models? Changing demographics and consumer expectations?

Ask the association’s staff person if the organization has conducted surveys of members and/or conference attendees that reveal members’ “pain points.” Are staff in the Member Services or Education Departments aware of challenges facing members?

Armed with this information about what the members need at each association, identify alignment with your company’s expertise.

Here are five ways to position your company as a knowledge leader:

1. Write a white paper or case study. Ask the associations if they will distribute it to their members; you can also distribute it to your customers and prospective customers.

2. Develop content for a webinar. Ask the associations if they will contribute content and/or co-present the webinar with you for their members; you can also present the webinar to your customers and prospective customers.

3. Ask the associations if they have a gap in the educational programming for their conference; maybe your company has an expert on the topic who could be on the faculty or a panel discussion. If the education program is based on proposals, ask association staff if they would provide you with guidance on developing a strong proposal.

4. Ask the associations if they have state affiliates that would be interested in your white paper, webinar, and education session.

  • Find out if the associations have committees, task forces, or councils that are in need of expertise available from your company. You could offer to serve on the group or make a presentation to them.

The three reasons companies support associations are closely related. Companies that are effective knowledge leaders become trusted resources for members. As a result, these companies achieve brand differentiation compared to their competitors. And the outcome is these companies are more likely to gain new business.

It’s a win-win-win. Your company is better positioned in the marketplace. Members of the associations receive much-needed information. The associations gain added value for their members and the companies that support their members.

If you would like more information on how your company can position itself as a knowledge leader with trade and professional associations and their members, contact Quantum Age today.

To learn more about the benefits of association affiliations, read:

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#2 Business Development

#3 Brand Differentiation

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Topics: Associations,, Branding, Business

Ziegler Senior Living 150 List Offers Noteworthy Takeaways and Details

Posted by CC Andrews

Dec 12, 2017 5:48:26 PM

There’s always something interesting on Ziegler’s list of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations, and this year did not disappoint. Aside from the obvious—which groups are still in the top five and which ones have shifted—there are some takeaways that likely indicate industry bellwethers.Ziegler image.jpg

According to the report, there are, among other things, revelations about trends in “home and-community-based services, third-party management, rental Life Plan Communities (LPCs), technology adoption, joint ventures, and future growth plans.” Here are some noteworthy highlights:

  • Approximately 54 percent of the providers on the list offer some type of home and community-based services to non-resident.
  • In addition, the community care at home model is now offered by more than 14 percent of the providers on the list.
  • More than one-third of the providers on the list are engaged in a joint venture that involves a health system or home health company. This number has grown by more than 34 percent since last year’s list was published.
  • Related to this is the number of providers that have a formal health care contract with an Accountable Care Organization or a bundled payment agreement: the report notes that just 25 percent of providers on the list in 2013 had such arrangements.
  • Perhaps not so shocking, but nonetheless noteworthy, is the fact that 84 percent of organizations on the list use electronic health/medical records.

If you’re really interested in getting into the weeds, the list also includes details about the pace of growth, aggregate growth, and type of growth. Here are some takeaways from these sections of the report:

  • 75 percent of the providers on the list plan to expand or reposition an existing community in 2018.
  • 30 percent said “maybe” in response to being asked if they would planning to add new communities in 2017 or 2018.
  • 32 percent said they do plan to add new communities in 2017 or 2018.

Whatever might interest you, the Ziegler 150 offers more than a list: it is also packed with details about the largest not-for-profit providers that cannot be found anywhere else.

If you want a focused approach to strategizing your growth— facilitated by experts in the senior living field—contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: long term care, long-term and post-acute care, aging services

Telomeres, Mitochondria, and Healthy Longevity

Posted by CC Andrews

Dec 4, 2017 12:00:00 AM

Will you live to be 100? I am on the fence about wanting to live that long, unless I can be pretty sure I’ll be relatively healthy for the duration. Health span and longevity are the golden tickets in aging research, telomere.jpgaccording to a panel convened recently at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Moderated by Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, the panel—made up of luminaries in geroscience research—gave the audience updates on recent promising studies. Among the most interesting—and slightly scary—research that is giving them reason to think that extending not only lifespan but also health span is within reach—and within a reasonable timeframe. It may not happen in the near future, but is definitely on the horizon.

From telomeres and mitochondria to senescent cells, mouse and primate studies have shown that umbilical cord blood extended the lives of mice, while Metformin, a diabetes drug that’s been around for a decades, has been shown to prevent the onset of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among other things.

According to Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Laureate and president of the Salk Institute, targeting and minimizing the “big killers of humanity” (the diseases that often come with aging) is the key to extending health span. “The conditions we die of, we really care about those, because these affect our health span,” she said.

The National Academy of Medicine is so committed to finding the key to extending the health span it has created an initiative around it. According to the group’s website, the Longevity Grand Challenge is aimed at inspiring and incubating “transformative ideas through challenge prizes and awards, expert guidance, a roadmap for policymakers and public engagement.”

So how does all this relate to aging services? There are obvious correlations, such as how much longer such breakthroughs will extend human lifespan and its impact on health care systems and housing, of course. It is worth noting, however, according to one scientist, when the time comes, humans will likely get about two additional years out of it. That century-long lifespan may still be reserved for those with the right genetics but the science and research seems to be inching closer to it.

While there are some very interesting discoveries that point to “hacking the aging code,” the panelists also made note of the fact that good old-fashioned exercise, diet, and genetics still play a large role in human longevity.

If you want a focused approach to figuring how health longevity affects your business— facilitated by experts in the senior living field—contact Quantum Age today.



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Topics: Aging, older adults, longevity, research

The Disease of Aging, Airbnb, and Products for Longevity

Posted by CC Andrews

Nov 17, 2017 12:00:00 AM

When the opening line of a panel discussion on aging and the longevity economy is something like this: “Every single person in this room over 25 suffers from a disease, and that disease is the disease of aging,” https___press.atairbnb.com_app_uploads_2017_01_airbnb_vertical_lockup_web copy.pngthose of us steeped in this field take notice. To begin, suggesting that the human condition of living is considered a disease is a bit provocative, if not ignorant. In addition, the moderator of said panel followed the introduction with, “eventually the disease of aging is going to kill us,” which I assume at this point was meant to be merely bombastic, especially since the panelists were thoughtful, engaging humans, all of whom were clearly living with this aging “disease.”

Convened by the Milken Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit think tank, the purpose of the panel was to discuss aging and longevity and the impact these two issues will have on the global economy. The discussion included a diverse array of people who have either studied aging and longevity or have dabbled in it due to their work.

Among the most interesting of perspectives came from Chip Conley, strategic advisor for hospitality and leadership at Airbnb, where adults 50 years and older make up only about 6 percent of its employees, compared to 25 percent in the entire U.S. workforce.

Despite the depressingly small number of elders in the company, Conley, who joined Airbnb at the age of 52, believes that older workers and younger workers have much to gain from each other. “I have had the experience of being both a mentor and an intern at the same time,” he said, also noting that while the average age of company leaders is declining, “meaning power is moving younger, and these people who are getting a lot of power don’t have a lot of training, nor do they have a lot of people with gray hair around to give them advice.”

In an effort to address Airbnb’s workforce problem, Conley pointed to the “wise elder” who can help with “emotional intelligence and good thinking around strategy, and will not be a competitor to his younger colleague, who uses him as a sounding board.” One of the company’s solutions is to create an affinity group of employees 50 and older who can address the issues and have their voices heard. “Elders have proven to be helpful in creating better teams, better at helping them operate, and better at creating collegial and collaborative environments where teams works better,” he said.

Presented with a question about what products and services are being developed to cater to the genuine needs of elders, Joseph Coughlin, PhD, director of the MIT AgeLab, asserted that it’s not just about the needs of older adults, “because, as the saying goes in the auto industry, everyone knows that a young man will never buy an old man’s car and an older man or an older woman will run away from it as well.”

The idea, he says, is to create products that excite and delight. “The reason why older adults aren’t buying products that are made for older adults is not because [the consumers] are old and declining, it’s because we have yet to invent a longevity product that is worth buying,” he said. Others may disagree with this last statement, but I agree with his premise that there needs to be more products focused on exciting and delighting older consumers.

Circling back to Airbnb, Conley noted that there is a growing number of “digital nomads” who recognize that they can mix their work and their pleasure because they are armed with a mobile device, a laptop, and wifi connections. They live in Airbnbs and they travel the world while working, he says. What’s more, the fastest-growing group of Aribnb hosts is adults 50 years and older. The reason behind this is because many people who are over 50 own their own home, are empty nesters, have extra rooms in their homes, and want to add to their retirement income. Airbnb hosts also have the highest guest ratings.

These slices of information make me wonder if the folks over at Silvernest and others with similar home-share-for-Boomers business models have heard about this. Airbnb’s experience certainly seems to suggest that these housing alternatives are likely onto something.

The perspectives here were diverse and not the usual advice (others on the panel included a representative from AARP and the economist-author of “The 100-Year Life”). Watch the full discussion to get some newer perspectives on the longevity economy. It may stimulate some fresh thinking of your own.

If you want a focused approach to strategic decisions around navigating the longevity economy, facilitated by experts in the senior living field and candid feedback, contact Quantum Age today.


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Topics: Aging, Senior care, senior living, longevity

Survey Points to Best Practices for Successful Innovation

Posted by CC Andrews

Nov 1, 2017 12:00:00 AM

No company can ignore the imperative to innovate and failing to do so is an invitation to lose business. This is the introduction to a new report from PwC on—you guessed it—innovation.

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Based on a survey of more than 1,200 executives in 44 countries, the report attempts to uncover a better understanding of how innovating companies are seeking to create business value and financial returns on their efforts. PwC’s survey asked questions about innovation strategy, operating models, culture, metrics, and more.

So what does this have to do with long-term/post-acute care and senior living? Well everything, of course. How’s that? Aging services providers know that they must innovate in order to succeed amid the impending wave of alternative payment models, stiff competition, and threats to Medicaid and Medicare funding.

Titled “Reinventing Innovation: Five Findings to Guide Strategy Through Execution,” the report is packed with juicy insights and stats. Here are some key findings:

1. Growing the Sandbox: The majority of the survey respondents are big believers in bringing more stakeholders into to the “innovation sandbox.” Among other things, PwC asserts that casting a wider net when it comes to getting input and generating ideas can improve innovation’s alignment with business strategy, help companies access fresh ideas and critical talent, and also enable them fail faster and get new innovations to market sooner. With this in mind, the report states, companies are opening up their innovation processes earlier to a broader set of stakeholders—from both inside and outside the company. In fact, the majority of companies surveyed said are bringing customers—as well as employees—into the innovation process at the ideation phase.

2. Reimagine and Experiment: Innovating without aligning it with strategy is not a prudent path for most companies, according to the report, which finds that for any initiative to deliver true value, it must clearly align with a company’s business strategy. The authors offered that example of GE Ventures, which, according to CEO Sue Siegel, means they must focus on reimagining and experimenting with new business models. “Emergent technologies are very powerful, but what we have to figure out is, what is the sustainable business model that we could potentially either partner up with or use within our organization to drive growth? We’ve been able to experiment to translate these major trends and technology enablers and apply them to business model innovation. That is incredibly important to how we stay ‘tip of spear’ at GE,” she said. That being said, the survey found that more than half of innovating companies struggle with bridging the gap between innovation strategy and business strategy, flagging it as their greatest strategic challenge when it comes to innovation.

3. The Right Stuff: Finding employees with the right human judgment and intuition in examining the data is “critical to obtaining useful insights for innovation,” the report suggests. “Soft skills like these are clearly valued by the executives we surveyed, who say their employees are their most important partners in innovation, ranking them above technology partners.” For example, Eddie Copeland, director of government innovation at Nesta, says that senior management’s failure to listen to frontline workers can be a major obstacle to innovation in government organizations. “Frontline employees often see problems and solutions more clearly than their cost-conscious managers,” she said. Also important to remember is that even if an employee doesn’t sit on a company’s core innovation team, they can still valuable contributors to innovation efforts early in the process. As Copeland explains in the report, they can function “as more than just personnel to whom innovations are pushed out for execution purposes.” Finally, don’t forget that employees are also consumers who can bring end-user insights into the innovation process. The survey found that 32 percent of the businesses surveyed said that finding employees with the right skills is their biggest people-related innovation challenge.

4. Technology Leads the Way: Companies continue to look to technology to help create markets for novel products and services that don’t yet exist, a la smartphones and wearables. Nearly one-third of those survey said their innovation is either all or mostly technology-led, while another one-third say they use a combination of technology and market-led innovation. Technology companies unsurprisingly are the leaders when it comes to “breakthrough innovation.” Nearly two-thirds of them make it a focus of most or all of their innovation efforts, according to the report. Maybe a little more surprising is that pharmaceutical and life sciences and health sciences companies follow technology in focusing mostly on breakthrough innovation.

PwC stresses that as companies invest more in innovation, they must strive to do a better job of aligning their innovation efforts with their business strategy. “Innovation spending ultimately has to drive business value and financial performance,” the report concludes. “But for that to happen in any consistent way, innovators should understand and help define future business models that can support the innovations they create.”

If you want a focused approach to your innovation strategies, facilitated by experts in the senior living field and candid feedback, contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: Senior care, long-term and post-acute care, innovations, aging services

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