LeadingAge Magazine · November/December 2015 • Volume 05 • Number 06

Staying Power

November 18, 2015 | by Gene Mitchell

Staying Power

There are a lot of LeadingAge members with long histories, some of them extending back to the 19th century, when they may have gotten their starts as “widows and orphans’ homes” or “rest homes” for elderly Civil War veterans. These members have gone through many significant changes in the century-plus since their founding. And almost all of our members—not just the oldest ones—have experienced their own twists and turns of fate as they evolved into today’s mission-driven providers.

The changes many members face today, as they adapt to changing consumer needs and attitudes, demographic imperatives and altered reimbursement regimes, have unique characteristics that differ from what their forebears dealt with. Even so, today’s motivations are, I suspect, essentially the same as they were decades ago: Maintain the mission, expand services and build for the future.

Before diving into our feature articles, I encourage you to begin by reading our Vision column, written by Larry Minnix. “Parting Words” is a farewell column based on his moving remarks from our just-completed Annual Meeting in Boston.

For me it has been a great honor and privilege to work for and with Larry Minnix. I started at LeadingAge very soon after Larry did, and I know I’ve never worked for any leader who offered such a combination of vision, good ideas and judgment, and plain old fun! Larry always supported and challenged me, taught me a vast amount about this field, and made me laugh. Enjoy your retirement, Larry!

The topic of our first feature, “Balancing Risk and Financial Strength,” is one that has interested me for a long time. How can a provider take the risks involved in change (which it must) while maintaining financial stability and staying power? This article looks at several members managing very different types of risk in order to keep their missions vital.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told by a member how this or that innovation was made possible by a foundation grant. In “Making the Most of Foundation Grants,” we talk to a few members who are successful grant-seekers for their advice on working with foundations.

Home and community-based services are becoming increasingly important for our members; we often hear of traditional campus-based providers that are dipping their toes into those waters. In “Home and Community-Based Services: Making the Numbers Work,” we learn from members why getting the business model right is the first priority.

For a couple of years we’ve been following the progress of LeadingAge’s Pathways initiative—an attempt to start a conversation on a sustainable, rational way to fund long-term services and supports for Americans as they age. In “Conversations and Data: the Next Steps in Solving the LTSS Financing Challenge,” you’ll read about the latest developments in a process that is really starting to gain attention, including some exciting work being done to model the different pathways to success.

Social accountability/community benefit programs have always been a high priority for LeadingAge, and in “Sizing up Your Social Accountability Program,” we look at these programs from a financial and documentation perspective. Read about how experts approach the construction of a program to ensure that ends and means are aligned and financially responsible.

Volunteers, Activists and Leaders: These are the People We Serve” is the latest in our ever-popular series about the remarkable people our members serve and employ.

Is ‘Aging in Place’ the Answer?” That’s the title of our Wisdom column, in which a member—inspired by her own parents’ lives—pushes back against conventional wisdom about where services for seniors are best delivered.

Finally, in our Partnerships department we include three stories of member partnerships and how they work. Have a story to tell about your own partnership? Tell us about it any time at gmitchell@leadingage.org.