Posted on Friday April 19th, 2013
There is a great video at Real Beauty Sketches (Dove) focused on how women see themselves compared to how others see them. It really made me wonder what the results would be if this project was done with older adults. Would they focus on outward signs of aging? Would others? I remember when I was in my 40′s and starting to “worry” about wrinkles. At the time I was directing the Young at Heart exercise program for older adults at MSU, and it occured to me that when I looked at the members – most 70+ years old – I didn’t see wrinkles, I saw smiling eyes and faces of friends. How would you describe yourself to someone sketching you without looking at you? What do you see when you look at others? How do images of aging impact self perceptions and perceptions of others.
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Posted on Tuesday February 12th, 2013
I just returned from the Masterpiece Living Lyceum in Atlanta, GA, and am happy to report that I think the movement toward positive, healthy aging is rapidly gaining speed and will soon reach the tipping point. I spoke on the Power of Possibilities encouraging attendees to look at every policy and procedure in senior living to see if it supports or detracts from resilience and feelings of competence, value, and purpose. Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative driving culture change in nursing homes, and Changing Aging a platform to challenge conventional views on aging, spoke about feeling a shift – more voices, more action, more change – moving us toward that place in time where we no longer feel like lone voices in the crowd but a chorus insisting on positive change. It was a very energizing and encouraging meeting!
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Posted on Monday January 7th, 2013
At the beginning of a new year resolutions dominate the media – how to get more organized, how to set goals, and especially, how to lose weight, get fit, eat healthy meals. I doubt there are many adults who really don’t know the formula for healthy living. The problem is the gap between knowing and doing. As you read the latest article on How to Get Fit in 10 minutes a Day, notice that the only true answer lies in simply taking action on a habitual basis. It isn’t the big splashes you make at the beginning of a new year or a new diet that determine your outcome, it’s your habitual patterns. It’s what you do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to keep your body and mind functioning at an optimal level that will offer your best chance for aging with vitality. One of the best resolutions you could make is to honestly take stock of an average “day in the life of”….. and ask yourself if your habits are supporting or diminishing your chances for aging with vitality and purpose through your full lifespan.
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Posted on Thursday October 25th, 2012
On October 1st Medicare started to penalize hospitals for patients who are readmitted into the hospital within 30 days of discharge for the same diagnosis. This is initially designed to curb the percentage of Medicare patients who are routinely readmitted for three primary conditions; heart failure (24.7%), heart attack (19.7%) and pneumonia (18.5%). The healthcare industry is tracking all diagnosis readmissions, and bracing for other diagnosis to be added to the penalty list.
There’s no doubt serious issues will arise within this new accountable care environment, one being that some hospitals are choosing not to officially “admit” Medicare patients, instead classifying them as “under observation”. Unfortunately, to the patient there is no clear indication they are just under observation, and many older adults have found themselves with large bills for post-acute rehabilitation stays because since they were never officially admitted to the hospital they are not eligible to receive Medicare reimbursement for rehab services. Be aware and ask for clarification of the satus of any hospital stay.
On the positive side, this is quite simply the biggest boost to the business case for prevention and wellness promotion that I’ve seen in the 20+ years I’ve been in the field of older adult wellness. For the past 5 years I’ve been advocating for senior living to take a leading role in changing the way people view and experience aging. And this is a golden invitation for senior living to become the champions of recovery, re-claiming vitality after a health crisis, and reframing possibilities – regardless of challenges. All the pieces and parts are there – it’s just a matter of claiming that “space” in the healthcare continuum.
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Posted on Saturday June 23rd, 2012
What is your perception of the senior living communities in your city or town? Do they seem dis-connected from, or vital to, the fabric of the community? Are they someplace you think you would like to live some day, or a place you may have to live some day? What if there was a completely new senior living paradigm? For example, what if elders in a senior living community were looked on as a valuable resource in the broader community – a resource that young people would turn to for advice, and town leaders would look to for council on community challenges?
That is really the fundamental shift in mindset necessary for what I have called Purpose-Driven Senior Living. Consider the image (and reality) of senior living if it’s PRIMARY purpose was to actively support elders as agents of positive change in the broader community. For example, elders in a purpose-driven senior living community could decide to spearhead an initiative to combat childhood obesity, and might grow organic vegetables for school lunches, create walking trails on the senior living grounds, be walking buddies for school children, and anything else they determine would address the issue. They could work with town leaders to activate businesses and other entities to join the initiative. Elders as resources – elders as partners in community.
I’ve been working on developing the foundation, structures, strategies, and resources necessary to begin this transformation and am excited to have many of the right people and “pieces” coming together to make it happen. The first thing is a name change from purpose-driven (which is already associated with a different movement) to purpose-centered senior living. We’ll try that on for awhile and would be happy to hear what you think of the concept and the name. I’ll keep you posted as we continue to build out the framework and tools necessary to integrate a purpose-centered approach through all aspects of a senior living business model.
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