LeadingAge Magazine · May-June 2019 • Volume 09 • Number 03

Innovating in the Places People Call Home

May 22, 2019 | by Gene Mitchell

A preview of this issue of LeadingAge magazine.

How many times have I said or typed the phrase in the place they call home? How many times have I heard it from the lips of LeadingAge members? Those words are familiar in our field, and if anything will be even more common in years to come.

Gene Mitchell

This issue, focusing on home and community-based services (HCBS), recounts the value of helping people stay “in the place they call home,” while asking HCBS providers to talk about the challenges they face and the way they are innovating to meet growing demand.

The timing of the issue is serendipitous, because of the way it aligns with the recent news about the affiliation between LeadingAge and the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) and its parent, ElevatingHOME. We were able to include several VNAA members among the providers included in this issue.

In “Scaling Up Home Health and Hospice,” we look at how home and community-based services providers are coping with increased demand and the general growth of community-based services. Issues that face residential care providers—workforce development, changing business models, and regulatory changes—also factor into HCBS providers’ work.

We naturally, and with good reason, believe that aging services providers do irreplaceable work in serving older adults in many and varied ways. But our members aren’t the only heroes out there. We also know that without the millions of family caregivers that put their own needs on hold—sometimes endangering their own well-being—our “system” for serving the aged would have no chance of meeting our society’s needs. Read “Creatively Supporting Family Caregivers,” to learn how some LeadingAge members work to support this too-long-overlooked population.

In “Comfort and Quality for Patients and Families at the End of Life,” we talk to some hospice and palliative care providers about how they face new challenges of increasing demand and worker shortages, in an already challenging line of work. It’s also a reminder of the value brought by another army of heroes: the many volunteers that help hospice programs bring comfort to patients.

My mother had Alzheimer’s, and for years attended an adult day program that did wonders for her, and for my family. So I’m glad we have occasion to include 2 adult-day themed articles. The first, “Person-Centered Adult Day Programs,” revisits a familiar theme from our other articles: the ability of providers to expand in the face of growing demand and more service offerings. The second, “Adult Day Services Plus Program Studies Better Ways to Help Family Caregivers,” is concerned with a study of how providers can better serve the family members of older adults enrolled in adult day programs. We interviewed the researchers for more on their work, and their insights into what adult day providers can improve.

Residents Living Their Best Lives” is a new take on person-centeredness. It’s the story of one LeadingAge member that was inspired to join a Massachusetts organization formed to encourage alignment between the delivery of care and services and the stated preferences of individuals. In that spirit, this member went on to implement its own approach to residents and clients—asking them to state what matters most to them, and then serving them accordingly.

Collective Influence, Advocacy, and Expertise” focuses on the affiliation between LeadingAge and VNAA/ElevatingHOME. We talk to some of the latter’s leaders about how the affiliation benefits members of both organizations.

There are 2 podcasts included in this issue. The first, “Community-Based Expansion,” echoes our “scaling up” theme. It’s an interview with 3 LeadingAge members about how their organizations are expanding their HCBS offerings to meet demand. The second, “Serving Older Adults Living With Parkinson’s,” focuses on one member’s program to serve residents with Parkinson’s disease, and why providers should do more in that area.

Finally, our members continue to send in their great stories of admirable residents, clients, and staff. Read “Activists, Artists, and Families: These are the People We Serve."

Gene Mitchell is editor of LeadingAge magazine.