CC Andrews

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Free Resident Engagement Resources Under COVID-19 Restrictions

Posted by CC Andrews

Apr 20, 2020 3:08:25 PM

As time marches on, we in long-term care and senior living find ourselves adjusting as best we can to a new (and thankfully temporary) normal. This is definitely true for those working in communities, fighting to keep their residents safe and healthy...and engaged.

Among the most common challenges we’re seeing from communities is how to maintain resident engagement and morale during this time of serious COVID-19 proximity restrictions. We’ve surfed the web a bit and borrowed from others’ lists to bring you this quick group of resources appropriate for our audience. Here’s hoping you find some gems for your residents!

Industry Resources


  • The Louvre: You don't have to book a ticket to Paris to check out some of the famous pieces in the world's largest art museum. The Louvre has free online tours of three famous exhibits, including Egyptian Antiquities.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: The works of Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Jeff Koons, and Franz Marc are just some of the 625 artists whose work are a part of the Guggenheim's Collection Online.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Move at your own pace through the 360-degree room-by-room tour of every exhibit in the museum.
  • Van Gogh Museum: You can get up close and personal with the impressionist painter's most famous work thanks to Google Arts & Culture.
  • Getty Museum: Los Angeles's premiere gallery has two virtual tours, including "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry," which is a closer look at food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
  • The Vatican Museum: The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and Raphael's Room, are just some of the sites you can see on the Vatican's virtual tour.






Zoos and Aquariums

  • The Cincinnati Zoo: Check in around 3 p.m., because that's the time the Zoo holds a daily Home Safari on its Facebook Live Feed.
  • Atlanta Zoo: The Georgia zoo keeps a "Panda Cam" livestream on its website.
  • Georgia Aquarium: Sea-dwellers like African penguins and Beluga Whales are the stars of this aquarium's live cam.
  • Houston Zoo: There are plenty of different animals you can check in on with this zoo's live cam, but we highly recommend watching the playful elephants.
  • The Shedd Aquarium: This Chicago aquarium shares some pretty adorable behind-the-scenes footage of their residents on Facebook.
  • San Diego Zoo: With what may be the most live cam options, this zoo lets you switch between koalas, polar bears, and tigers in one sitting.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium: It can be Shark Week every week thanks to live online footage of Monterey Bay's Habitat exhibit.
  • National Aquarium: Walk through tropical waters to the icy tundra in this floor-b
  • y-floor tour of the famous, Baltimore-based aquarium.


Theme Parks


For a printable PDF of this list, just click here.

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2020 Predictions in Senior Living: Disruption, New Tech, Workforce Challenges, and PDPM.

Posted by CC Andrews

Jan 14, 2020 3:49:31 PM

It usually begins at about the second week of December: articles and blog posts proclaim and predict the future of the following year. In the senior living field, there is no shortage of such prognostications, and I am happy to have devoured them. Many are well thought out and useful. So, similar to what we did two years ago in this space, I have examined the predictions of others and offered here my review of them.

To begin, it’s worth mentioning as an overarching theme for the coming decade a December 27 Forbes article by William Haseltine, chair and president of ACCESS Health International. He highlights the World Health Organization’s proclamation that the 2020s will be “the Decade of Healthy Ageing,” and asserts that health systems around the world “are woefully underequipped to provide the care that healthy aging requires” and that over the next 10 years, “the pressure will be on for national governments, policymakers, and healthcare providers to redress the scarcity of resources available to the elderly and the people who care for them.”

Top Tech Priorities for Senior Living Communities

In addition, Haseltine says that long-term care systems around the world need to be bolstered by research, development, and funding and suggests that for such care “to be accessible, affordable, and equitable to all, they must discard a notion of health overdetermined by illness and treatment in favor of one befitting the full complexity of the person.” In other words, person-centered care should be paramount in long-term care. While not a new suggestion, he is correct. In my opinion, these assertions provide an excellent backdrop for the following overviews:

1. Disruption: Not to overuse a nearly worn-out term but disruption is still a thing, and it’s going to be a thing in senior living until providers catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to inn

ovation and technology. That said, let this paragraph from the Senior Housing News predictor article sink in: “Tech behemoths such as Amazon and Apple have been making moves into the senior health care space and could eventually disrupt senior living—as several industry leaders have warned. And last year, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian—who now runs a venture capital firm—predicted a decade of ‘major change’ is on the way for senior living, and he foresees the rise of a disruptive, tech-forward senior brand.”

In other words, the article states, “in 2020, the disruption threat level will rise.” In my opinion, this news is a long time coming. I see two options for providers and those who serve them: we (as an industry) can wait for the Amazons and Apples to find their blue ocean in our red sea or we can get busy with our own disruption and make something really cool happen.

2. Machine Learning: The abundance of healthcare data available via government records, health care professionals, pharmacies, insurance companies, and others is being used to predict health issues and prescribe medication or lifestyle changes. Adding to this mix, the access to behavioral data of older adults will lead to “improved prediction and accuracy and better services for older adults,” in 2020, according to Senior Living News. This, the writers state, will eventually result in improving the lives of older adults.

3. The Emergence of WiFi Doppler Imaging: Another interesting prediction in from Senior Living News is the idea that WiFi Doppler imaging will bring “new possibilities” to PERS and fall detectio

n devices by deploying a WiFi signal to “generate imaging data that can be interpreted into insights about the movements of people and objects within a given environment.” According to the writers, since academia and industry are working to make fall detection less intrusive, the WiFI Doppler technology has a greater chance of success over the next year or two.

4. Workforce: What would a prediction in senior living be without mentioning workforce? It’s an ever-present topic of course. Here are some good workforce-related 2020 forecasts:

  • McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor predicts that the call for staffing quotas will not go away. “Never mind that finding and keeping workers is arguably the biggest challenge the industry faces. It’s election season,” he says. You can’t really argue with that one especially, as he says, “candidates at every point will be demanding staffing quotas.”
  • Skilled Nursing News published a smart list of predictions based on interviews with senior living executives. Among them is a trend noted among larger operators. “We are receiving a large volume of calls from various SNF operators who are very interested in converting their contract therapy to an in-house model,” said the president of a therapy company. The reason behind this, according to the executive, is two-fold: first, the “SNF operators are realizing therapy is now a cost center and they want to take control of their own expenses.” The second reason is due to an apparent flood of therapists in the labor market.

5. PDPM: As the now ubiquitous new SNF payment model sinks in, “smaller nursing home chains in rural areas that have put their heads in the sand amid the PDPM shift will find ‘reimbursement repercussions to be pretty significant,’” according to Fred Bentley, managing director of consulting firm Avalere Health. He says that although the skilled nursing space won’t fully feel the results of PDPM until 2020, “in some instances, it does mean scaling back on therapy—but not maybe as much as the industry had supposed.”

In another Skilled Nursing News article on 2020 trends, the author states this about PDPM: “if there’s one truism in covering an industry that overwhelmingly relies on government agencies to exist, it’s that operators will quickly adapt to whatever new rules that officials implement in an attempt to control their behavior.” The article cites the example of the industry’s adaptation under the Resource Utilization Group system as proof and adds that “early returns are demonstrating that there are far more reimbursement winners than losers, even when accounting a quirk of the transition process that saw most every operator receive a non-repeated boost for certain residents.”

Whatever happens in 2020, it is sure to be a year of transition, especially in light of PDPM, as well as the inevitable disruption that comes when significant corporate players realize the vastness and value of the longevity economy.

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Topics: tech, senior housing

Taking Innovation from Mysterious to Magnificent

Posted by CC Andrews

Apr 20, 2018 12:37:00 PM

Innovation. Does the very idea excite and terrify you at the same time? After all, innovation can lead to tremendous growth and success. It can take you in exciting new directions or help you make forward progress on your current path. At the same time, however, coming up with innovative ideas can be intimidating. Brainstorming often is accompanied by stress, anxiety, and blank stares. But here’s the good news: you already have a diamond mine of opportunities and ideas; you just need to learn to mine them.

Let’s start by taking the mystery out of innovation. This is simply a practical translation of ideas into new or improved products, services, systems, or social interactions. You may think of innovation as new ideas, but it’s more about a fresh way to look at situations, problems, products, and programs. It’s about how to turn challenges into opportunities and remain agile in a longevity economy where the ground is constantly moving under your feet.

Want innovative ideas? Look around. The ideas are everywhere—even in places you might not expect. For instance, Henry Ford didn’t invent the production line. He saw it working in a meat packing plant and adapted it for the automobile industry. The result—more efficient assembly and lower costs. Elsewhere, Starbucks looked around and saw an opportunity to provide coffee drinks with a high-end experience; and DeBeers produced industrial diamonds but saw a new market in engagement rings.

Watch Customers for Innovative Ideas

One approach to innovation is watching your customers. For instance, Avanti Senior Living saw the growing popularity of boutique hotels among older populations. These customers were attracted by the clean, bright, comfortable, convenient spaces; customized and easy-to-access service; and upscale attention to dining and other details. Avanti took this concept and applied it to senior housing. They established artfully designed spaces with thoughtfully provided health services, discreetly delivered on cue. Setting the scene for empowered, ageless, and heathy living, the dining hall resembles an elegant café, the exercise space an upscale gym.

Elsewhere, Latitude Margaritaville was inspired by the popularity of singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett among baby boomers and other older Americans. The result is a number of planned communities featuring recreation, dining, and live entertainment with a tropical theme aimed at boomers.

What’s Your Cronut?

A few years ago, people were standing in block-long lines to buy a cronut—a combination of croissant and a donut. Bringing things together that people want and need can result in big innovation. For instance, consider The Pickens Center in Dallas, TX. It combines the best of hospice, home care, nursing care, and palliative care in one elegant setting spanning 9 acres. The center includes lake-facing patient care suites with balconies, family support areas, and more. And it also happens to be a destination educational resource and training center for best practices in hospice care. Another idea growing in popularity is combining the convenience and popularity of the local fitness center with the need for rehabilitation. Across the country, physical therapy and other rehab services are being offered right in the neighborhood gym—a more familiar and comfortable setting for many patients.

Everything Old Is New Again

Women often hold on to clothes or shoes for years because they know that old styles often become new trends. At the same time, ‘retro’ ideas, styles, and concepts from the past are more popular than ever. You can look to the past for ideas that might be ripe for a fresh look. For example, physician house calls were common in the 1950s and 1960s, but—due to time and cost restraints—they eventually disappeared. However, they are becoming popular again as technologies like Uber have emerged, family dynamics have changed, more homes have two working parents, and it has gotten more difficult for people to travel for care.

Another growing trend also takes from the past popularity of the home visit and combines it with cutting-edge technology. Increasingly, telemedicine services enable patients—especially those in rural locations—to receive personal ‘visits’ from physicians and other practitioners. As ideas such as this grow in popularity and their effectiveness and efficiency are documented, payors and others start to see the value. For instance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services pay for certain telemedicine services and private insurers are following suit as well.

Elsewhere, the popularity of communes—which popped up across the country back in the ‘60s—is returning in the form of senior and inter-generational cohousing communities. These intentional communities offer closer connections for residents and, in most cases, require them to contribute to the greater community.

Eliminate Something

While seeking innovations, consider the concept of ‘less is more.’ Is there a part of your product or service offering you might eliminate that would result in success? In recent years, some Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have identified that the average move-in age is trending upward and that a growing number of seniors aren’t as interested in leveraging their private home in favor of the campus lifestyle. Yet these consumers still need supportive services to remain in their homes. Thus evolved the concept of CCRCs without walls. These are care communities that provide the services of a CCRC without requiring that you move in to receive them. Staff and family to remotely monitor and coordinate healthcare and other sorts of support for residents in their own homes. This concept enables seamless care coordination, home health care service opportunities, remote assisted living and nursing care, touch-screen-based wellness programs, medication management, social engagement, and more. CCRCs without walls combine home- and community-base services with cutting-edge technology to make care convenient and accessible for seniors. In 2016, there were about 30 of these types of programs nationwide, with more in the works (

Ready, Set, Innovate

Now that you realize you don’t have to start from scratch, you can stop stressing and start strategizing your innovations. Need more ideas? Check out these ‘hacks’ to innovation (LINK TO HACKS LIST), ideas you can use to take a fresh approach to older issues, revive tired products or services, or take your business in a new direction.

Start today. Build a culture of innovation. Make it part of what you and your team do; and provide incentives to come up with fresh ideas. Go beyond the usual, the same old, and what everyone else is doing. Just be sure to have a clear definition of what success looks like. Follow your innovations—test, measure, and adjust as needed.

Not every idea or innovation—even what may seem like a really good one—will be a hit. Be prepared to embrace failure and identify it before—and definitely IF—you get there. Recognize failures without blame or finger-pointing and celebrate successes. Your diamond mine is waiting; get your tools and start cultivating it.

To learn how Quantum Age can help you innovate successfully, request a consult.

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The Dollars and Sense of the Business of Aging

Posted by CC Andrews

Mar 16, 2018 5:08:19 PM

In 2014, L’Oreal made a bold move in the ever-youthful beauty industry. The cosmetics company launched a splashy new line of anti-aging products and hired Diane Keaton, then 68, as the spokeswoman. L’Oreal realized that older women were an underserved market with money to spend.

More companies are starting to realize that being age friendly isn’t just good business, it’s also good for business. Seniors are redefining the aging process


and are forcing companies to rethink aging from both a customer and workforce perspective, according to “Turning Silver into Gold: The Business of Aging,” a report produced by the Milken Institute as part of the 2017 Summit on Business and the Future of Aging.

Seen by some as the world’s most compelling business opportunity, the 60-plus population will double to more than 2 billion by 2050. Seniors bring highly desired disposable income and growing needs as customers while offering experience, wisdom and institutional knowledge as employees. The fastest-growing demographic is unrivaled both by what it has—and has to offer. Now, it’s up to companies to realize the lucrative opportunity at their doorstep.

But to capture these emerging markets, businesses need to imagine a new future of aging. “How can we rewire, not retire? Reboot not retread? Turn recreation in to re-creation? The business sector can play a key role—and provide important leadership—in all of these areas,” notes Peter Mullin, chair of the M Center of Excellence, quoted in the report.

Businesses need to understand how today’s seniors differ from previous generations, and their willingness to learn can impact the bottom line. Older adults are a human capital resource pool that can contribute as entrepreneurs, employees, mentors and leaders. They can also train the next generation of workers, thereby helping to avoid a brain drain that would be detrimental to the economy.

The business community must embrace the undervalued and underutilized talents of older workers to realize “opportunities too compelling to ignore,” the report warns.


Spending power

Consider this: baby boomers account for half of all consumer packaged-goods dollars, but marketing tends to stop courting customers at the “cutoff” age of 49. “(But) older adults are “the most marketing friendly generation in U.S. history,” notes market research company Nielsen, quoted in the report. “They are healthy and growing, not broken and dying.”


Campaigns that target boomers are twice as likely to be successful as those targeting millennials, according to University of Michigan researchers. While younger generations are merely liking and sharing on social media, boomers are buying.


Other highlights from the Milken Institute report show the global power of the silver wallet:


  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts project that by 2020, annual consumer spending by adults age 60+ globally will reach $15 trillion.
  • Americans age 50 and up account for $7.6 trillion in direct spending and related economic activity, a figure surpassing the gross domestic product of every nation except the United States and China. However, fewer than half of companies are taking global aging into account in their strategic planning.
  • In developed countries, the 60 and older demographic is projected to generate half of all urban consumption growth between 2015 and 2030, significantly fueled by health care spending, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
  • In the United States, adults age 60 and older control 70 percent of disposable income.


Redefining retirement

Older adults want to continue living productive and meaningful lives. A growing number of workers are working well into retirement years and redefining retirement expectations.

Current trends suggest it will become increasingly unusual for retirees to leave the workforce altogether. That’s a boon to companies facing a brain drain as their most experienced and knowledgeable workers retire. And, recent research bolsters the argument for older workers by disproving the stereotype that productivity declines with age.

Older adults who remain working beyond age 55 are having significant and wide-ranging impacts on the U.S. workforce already, the Milken Institute report emphasizes:

  • Workers age 55 and older have driven nearly all the labor force growth in recent years, growing from the smallest to largest segment of U.S. labor.
  • By 2024, nearly 25 percent of American workers will be age 55+, up from just 12 percent in 1994.
  • Almost 9 million Americans age 65 or older are working, nearly twice the number of teens who work.
  • Even so, the overall U.S. labor force has declined in recent years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Without proper foresight and preparation, these two challenges will combine to create an unprecedented and potentially crippling talent crisis in the coming decade,” notes the Baxter Consulting Group, publisher of the 2017 “Managing the New Multi-Generational Workforce.”



The times are changing, and businesses have to change right along with them, the report urges. Embrace the promise and possibilities of an older workforce and develop policies and practices that reflect changing demographics for both customers and employees. Changes today will positively influence profits and position companies for a more diverse and prosperous longevity economy.

As Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, notes in the report, “We know that over half of workers report they want to work longer and differently, which tells us the megatrend of the aging of society is beginning to have huge impact on 21st century life. The question remains: are institutions of society, including employers, ready to deal with these transformative changes?”

If you want a focused approach to staying relevant in the longevity economy, facilitated by experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today.



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Topics: older adults, 55+, longevity, Business

Recognizing the Loneliness Crisis Among Older Adults Is a Vital First Step 

Posted by CC Andrews

Mar 4, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Being lonely is not a new phenomenon, just think of all the pop songs with the word lonely in them or the melodramas that play out on television and film in which characters feel isolated or lost in their own world. When it comes to reality and the issues of loneliness among older adults, however, the repercussions are rife with physical and emotional costs and are not cured by pep talks or Hollywood happy endings.

Nursing Home Stays_1920 copyA new study from the IBM Institute for Business Value and the IBM Aging Strategic Initiative puts the human and economic price of loneliness in perspective as a way to not only deal with the psychic toll of being lonely, but also to offer ideas to help limit the problem.

IBM’s research revealed, among other things, that families and caregivers of those affected by loneliness leaves them feeling overwhelmed by the chore of filling in for the social gaps in their loved one’s or patient’s life, while at the same time ensuring their medical care is top priority.

“Frequent visits by older adults to their physicians for social interaction also strain limited health care resources by diverting them from other acute needs,” IBM found. Often, this process leads to what doctors call “somaticizing,” which is defined as a person who converts anxiety into physical symptoms. There is no underlying ailment to cure, as the interaction with a doctor is instead a cry for social interaction.

Even with the knowledge of what loneliness does to older adults, there are barriers to knowing how to proceed, the report says, running the gamut from the stigma associated with the condition, the lack of a screening process, and inaccurate assumptions prioritizing technology over the personal and customized.

But, there is always hope. And, many communities around the country and world are offering solutions like in England where postal workers are trained to do call and checks to see how isolated residents are doing, or in Japan where specific communities are being constructed to cater to more social interaction allowing residents to age in place.

Professor Hiroko Akiyama of the Institute of Gerontology at University of Tokyo said in the report that society needs an entire redesign in order to address loneliness. Akiyama also noted that there is tremendous potential to engage with new and existing industries, organizations, and agencies to create more holistic solutions that better support the aging population and help them maintain social connections. Examples include:

  • Intergenerational living: Co-housing programs, as explained in a previous post, are shared living areas for older adults and younger generations can contribute to the exchange of support and companionship between residents.
  • Post-retirement careers and education opportunities: New partnerships among employers, universities, and government agencies that can create new work options, in addition to the opportunity to build new skills and associations.
  • Autonomous transportation: Older adults may be the most enthusiastic early adopters of self-driving vehicles, claims the report. This mobility option can restore their independence and re-open social engagement with the community.

All told, it’s going to take a new kind of village to make loneliness less prevalent, the report implies. In the longevity economy, that village must include entities that can come together to find solutions.

If you want a focused approach to staying relevant in the longevity economy that is facilitated by experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today. 

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Topics: longevity economy, Business

SNF Survival Depends on Understanding the New Hospital Landscape, Among Other Factors

Posted by CC Andrews

Feb 15, 2018 12:00:00 AM

A recent report from CliftonLarsonAllen paints a stark picture for the future of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), highlighting what stakeholders likely know, which is that operating margins are tighter than ever and there are fundamental shifts in how the flow of referrals reach facility doors.Hospital_photo

The good news is that providers can overcome these challenges to a large degree by—as you may have guessed—harnessing big data. “By embracing big data, SNFs can demonstrate their value to referral sources in a meaningful way,” the report says. “And by continuously improving outcomes, SNFs can position themselves to provide clinical services in a sustainable, profitable manner.”

The report, which is the 32nd of its kind published by CLA, is divided into two sections: one includes analyses of SNF financial and operating conditions by region and the other provides cost analyses tables displaying a variety of SNF cost data.

Hospitals Impacting SNF Admissions

According to CLA, hospital behavior is having an impact on SNFs in a negative way. Outpatient is the name of the game now (versus inpatient), resulting in fewer hospitalizations and thus fewer SNF admissions. This is mainly because, in a broad sense, the world of managed care, Medicare Advantage, and value-based care favors a process that gets people in and out of institutional care as quickly as possible, with the home care option seen as optimal.

Within this construct, CLA says this scenario is not necessarily dire for SNFs, if, and only if, long-term and post-acute care operators understand what they are up against. This makes it even more vital, they say, for SNFs to have their clinical, marketing, and data tools in top shape in order to make themselves attractive to an acute-care world where cost management is paramount. As this trend continues for fewer hospitalizations, the result will be that more SNFs face insolvency while at the same time others thrive.

This gap in how SNFs perform will be a feature of the industry for years to come and amounts to a Darwinian outlook where the difference between those facilities doing well and those doing not so well is wider and wider, CLA says.

Occupancy on the Decline

Diving a little deeper into the data points, CLA notes that in addition to the slowing of admissions from referrals there are shorter lengths of stay when people arrive. Case in point: there was a 120 basis point reduction in occupancy rates for SNFs between 2015 and 2016, according to the report. “Reduced occupancy is impacting all regions of the United States, and the overall occupancy median is now at 85 percent,” the report states.

This pressure can only continue with post-acute networks narrowing and solidifying, causing the thrive-or-die variances for SNFs. For instance, CLA says their numbers show the 25th percentile of SNFs experienced a 170 basis point reduction in occupancy, while the 75th percentile only saw a 50 basis point decline in occupancy levels. The Darwin movement is in action, CLA says, with those providers already in the mix of the new referral world seeing less of a hit, while those on the outside experiencing a larger loss of business.

Outcomes, Quality, and Efficiency

Options for providers are few, but the status quo is decidedly not one of those options. There must be a managed effort to gather information showing clinical success, which starts, of course, with positive outcomes for residents and patients.

There is a future for SNFs, CLA stresses, but there is a thin line, or margin if you will, between making it work and failing to keep up with a hyper-competitive marketplace that values results more than ever. Not to overstate the obvious, but “SNFs must demonstrate outcomes, quality metrics, and cost efficiency,” in order rise above in this environment, says the report says.

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

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Topics: long term care, quality, data, skilled nursing

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

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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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