Dr. Robyn Stone, a leading international authority on aging and long-term care policy, is the Senior Vice President for Research at LeadingAge where she oversees the organization’s Center for Applied Research.   Much of the Center’s work over the past decade has focused on examining the potential for linking affordable senior housing with services to support “aging in place” strategies and more efficient delivery of Medicare and Medicaid-funded services. We sat down with Dr. Stone to discuss IAHSA’s first Affordable Housing with Services Tour upcoming in September 10 – 15, 2012.

You will be hosting IAHSA’s Study Tour in Boston and Vermont – why did you decide on these locations?

Dr. Robyn Stone

Dr. Robyn Stone [Credit: LeadingAge]

The senior housing providers in these states are engaging in particularly innovative efforts to link housing with services.  They are also operating in states—Massachusetts and Vermont—that are experimenting with better ways to coordinate care for the elderly population, have a track record of paying attention to the holistic needs of their aging communities,  and  are very supportive of the role of housing in facilitating successful implementation of these programs.  Tour participants will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what it takes to make these programs work at both the operational and policy levels and how they might replicate such programs in their own communities.

Who will benefit the most from this tour?

Senior housing providers–both those serving low and higher income older adults—stand to benefit greatly from this tour.  Service providers who are interested in partnering with senior housing should also take advantage of this tour.  The tour is designed to help housing operators/managers and service providers better understand what is possible in designing programs that will assist low and modest income elders to age successfully in their communities, to remain functionally independent for as long as possible, to avoid expensive and inappropriate ER and hospital visits and to manage their chronic illnesses in their apartments.  This tour will particularly benefit people who are interested in maximizing their resources and developing sustainable partnerships in their communities.

What do you think the international community can gain from this and other tours?

Despite policy and regulatory differences across countries, all countries are attempting to implement aging-in-place strategies for low and modest income older adults that are cost effective and that ensure resident quality of care and quality of life.  This tour provides an opportunity to see innovative programs in action and to share experiences with other colleagues who may provide new insights into how to effectively link housing with services.

There is nothing like seeing operating programs, particularly in the fall, when the leaves are turning beautiful colors in the Northeastern region of the United States!

How can this tour help you in your efforts to deliver better housing and services to the world’s growing elderly population?

This tour will provide important new insights into how affordable senior housing can be an effective platform for integrating services that meet the holistic needs of low and modest income older adults. This includes how to develop more effective and sustainable partnerships at the community level, how to creatively use existing resources and how to attract new sources of financing which are essential to the long-term viability of these programs.

To learn more about the tour, please visit IAHSA.net or register here.  You can read more about Dr. Stone’s and the Center’s work at LeadingAge.org .