You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘study tour’ tag.

Participants on the Housing Study Tour at Cathedral Square.

The IAHSA and LeadingAge Housing with Services Study Tour was inspiring, informative and interesting.  Each of the five communities we visited brought something new to the table and showed what dedication and commitment can do for senior living.  

The most important lessons we took with us are seldom taught, and less often shared.  The leaders of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, Hebrew Senior Life, Sanborn Place, Cathedral Square and Hearth Inc taught us the following:  

1)          You can make anything happen with volunteers.

  • Many of the services we saw including fitness, educational initiatives and caregiving were conducted not by paid staff, but by willing volunteers.  Students, retired seniors, community centers and relatives can be found all around us.  Why not utilize their talents and time to enrich your community? 

2)          Maintenance Staff are the eyes and ears of your community.

  • All of the sites we visited recognized the value of their maintenance staff, and for good reason. While it may take time for residents to warm up to nurses and staff, maintenance personnel are invited right into the home.  They are there in a time of need when something goes wrong, they have daily contact with the residents which helps them identify risk concerns and can report incidents as they occur. 

3)          If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

  • Finding funding opportunities is an arduous task of piecing together various resources.  A large support can come from private donors, annual pledges, rotary clubs and old fashioned fundraising.  People love to make a difference, help them find a way by talking to them about it.  One donor at Hebrew Senior Life said “I wanted to give back to an organization that gave my mother so much happiness in the later years of her life.”

4)          Take risks.

  • Jacqueline Carson, CEO of Sanborn Place in Reading, Maryland, has a unique and bold approach.  As her residents age, she remains flexible to adapt her community to their evolving needs.  If something doesn’t work, she finds an alternative that does. 

5)          Intergenerational programs are essential, not optional.

  • These programs aren’t just for seniors.  Intergenerational programs strengthen communities by enhancing the lives of youth and children, spread positive thinking about ageing, encourage cultural exchange and can even maximize your financial resources through partnerships.  They can also help you with point #1.

6)          Invite your greater community in.

  • While your senior community may not be able to parade around the town, your local leaders can certainly tour your facilities and get to know their supporters – after all, seniors vote! Nancy Eldridge frequently hosts events in her buildings and identifies concerns for her local leaders to address so that they stay involved and stay committed.  Her program, SASH (Supports and Services at Home) is an exemplary framework for coordination a the community level.

By Jackie Pinkowitz, M.Ed.; Board Chair, CCAL-Advancing Person Centered Living

[To support dementia initiativedementia care and learn more about research and practices, register for the International Alzheimer’s Disease Study Tour Today! ]

On Friday, June 29, 2012, The National Dementia Initiative, gathered in Washington DC at LeadingAge for their first meeting to form  recommendations on person-centered non-pharmacologic strategies to address behavioral and emotional aspects of caring for individuals living with dementia in home and community-based settings.

The meeting’s participants included nearly 60 dementia experts spanning research, policy and practice from around the United States. CCAL-Advancing Person-Centered Living is one of the leaders of this initiative.

Like most significant efforts, The National Dementia Initiative “will take a village” to achieve its lofty purpose which began in 2011 with the germ of an idea:  it should gather a leadership team representing research, policy and practice sectors that would:

  • Work diligently to connect dementia experts from all three sectors across the United States and beyond
  •  Who will volunteer their time and expertise
  • To collaborate virtually and in person reframing dementia care  by using a person-centered holistic well-being philosophy and approach
  •  In the context of understanding and responding to “difficult or challenging” behaviors through person-centered non-pharmacologic practices.
Dementia initiative, caregiving

All photos credit of CCAL

In the ensuing months, “sixty villagers” heeded the call and began virtual communications in preparation for our all-day gathering on June 29th, 2012 — a gathering that can only be described as passionate, intense, and singularly focused on our common purpose.  Today, the villagers are back home, enthusiastically volunteering for three  workgroups being formed  to advance this effort.

The aspiration of the recent meeting was to come together on key principles and practices of person-centered dementia care and provide input for a comprehensive White Paper, which will focus on how to support individuals living with dementia.  A workgroup of volunteer participants will be assisting in disseminating and distributing the final paper come September 2012.

To truly understand What Matters Most in our Initiative, you need to gaze upon some of the faces in this blog: faces of those we love, care for, and caringly assist with utmost respect and dignity.

When I opened our all-day gathering, framed photos of “Those who Matter Most” decorated every table and a beautiful kaleidoscope of faces flashed across the screen as I acknowledged:  “Clearly the most important people in our village are not here today—the people living with dementia, their families, and their care partners.  But they are with us in spirit and we honor them through all the wonderful pictures so many of you provided.  I know that if we continue to work together with open hearts and open minds, we will have an incredibly meaningful and productive meeting; and we will succeed in advancing this most important Initiative for these most important people.”

Dementia Initiative

So I urge you, regardless of whatever Change Effort you may be conceiving or currently leading,  to truly understand what drives your amazing villagers (i.e. What Matters Most  to them; what motivates and energizes them to give their all for a greater good) so that you may tap into it throughout your entire fascinating future-focused journey of change…

IAHSA provides an opportunity to join the conversation on What Matters Most and engage in dementia care best practices on October 15-20, 2012 in LA and San Diego, California. IAHSA, in partnership with Alzheimer’s Disease International, will host the International Alzheimer’s Study Tour which will explore the research and treatment protocols for early stage dementia as well as provide a shared learning experience through site visits with communities.

Register today!

Nearly two million lower-income seniors live in independent, federally subsidized rental housing throughout this country. The average age for someone living in affordable senior housing subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 program is 79 years old – up from 74 in 2006. More than 80 percent of older adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic condition – and half have two or more. These conditions can lead to severe and immediate disabilities like hip fracture and stroke. They can also trigger progressive ailments that slowly erode the ability of older adults to care for themselves. Chronic illness, along with poor health status and functional limitations, are more prevalent among the lower-income seniors. It would follow then that a large portion of residents in affordable senior housing would suffer from chronic illnesses and disabilities.

In fact, an analysis of data from the American Community Survey found that subsidized senior renters are much more vulnerable than those who own their own homes. According to the data, they are older, twice as likely to experience conditions and limitations that threaten their ability to live independently and three times more likely to live alone. Due to their low-incomes and high levels of disability, these renters are three times more likely to be at risk of needing Medicaid(A public program that assists the poor in paying for their medical care). Independent senior housing communities were never intended to be nursing homes. That said, many of these communities – typically in collaboration with community health providers – have taken steps to address the needs of their residents and provide them with access to basic health and preventative services. Research supports this. Taking relatively simple and inexpensive steps to support residents in adopting healthier lifestyles and getting regular health screenings can dramatically reduce an older adult’s risk of chronic illness, disability and premature death. Conversely, poor management of chronic conditions often leads to frequent emergency room visits and hospital stays and may necessitate the transfer of some older adults to nursing homes prematurely.

A wide range of health and preventative services have been made available to older adults living in subsidized housing communities across the country. Their availability is influenced by several variables, including the characteristics and preferences of residents; resident eligibility  for different programs; the philosophy and commitment of housing managers; the availability and knowledge base of service coordinators; the availability of health services programs and providers in the community; the relationship between the housing property and potential community collaborators; characteristics of the physical plant (e.g., availability of common space, accessibility, etc.); and the resources available to support the work.

There is no one right way of choosing services delivery strategies – no one model that will work for all. There are, however, a number of lessons learned from the experiences of housing and services providers about the value to each of providing health and preventative services in affordable senior housing communities. Affordable senior housing communities can provide a means of delivering a broad range of services to low-income seniors. Building awareness of and disseminating information on new health program opportunities is easier when a large number of older adults live in close proximity to one another rather than being scattered across many locations. This economy of scale can also offer service providers a time and resource advantage. It is convenient for residents, especially those who are frail or have difficulty accessing public transportation, since they do not have to leave to participate in programs or access services.

Interested in learning more about affordable housing with services? Join our study tour to learn more about financing, delivery, and integration of services in the affordable housing setting.

Article by Alisha Sanders, reproduced with permission from the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research.

IAHSA Study Tours are high quality international professional programmes developed for your career development, continuing education and cultural enrichment.

IAHSA’s Australian Tour will provide you an opportunity for an in-depth understanding of Australian aged care and senior living, as well as develop your global professional network. You will meet with aged care leaders and visit ageing service facilities in Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart. Also included in the tour is attendance at the Annual Conference of IAHSA’s chapter, Aged & Community Services Australia in Hobart, the premier aged care conference in the Southern Hemisphere.

See the full itinerary and sign up today.

About this blog

IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network Blog was created because of you!! We got your message loud and clear – “Provide us with a quick and nimble communications vehicle so we can stay connected and create community across borders".

Questions? Email us at


Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

Alla Rubinstein, Program Administrator, IAHSA

Twitter Feed

Connect with us on Facebook

IAHSA - Global Ageing Network

Connect with us on LinkedIn

IAHSA - Global Ageing Network