Monday, October 28, 2013

NaCCRA: Consumers of Senior Living Discuss Future for Continuing Care

The fall meeting of the National Continuing Care Residents' Association (NaCCRA) in Dallas on October 27 was attended by CCRC residents from at least a dozen states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and D.C. 

20131027_110204The morning workshop focused on "Imagining CCRCs of the Future," starting with round table discussions that identified 25 topics deemed important to the future of the industry, including planning for consumers who may have less financial resources while also seeking greater services; interest in building more diverse communities; and the importance of training for emerging leaders.  From the broad list, the group identified 7 priorities for NaCCRA in the coming year and beyond, accompanied by specific action recommendations.  Stay tuned!

20131027_110144In the afternoon, members of NaCCRA were part of a panel discussion on "Resident Engagement" led by Ron Herring, the President-Elect of NaCCRA.  The panelists were Ellen Handler, President of ORANJ, the residents' organization in New Jersey; Marilyn Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer for Episcopalian Senior Communities in the San Francisco area, and Mary Ann Colwell, a resident at St. Paul's Towers, one of Episcopalian Senior Communities' CCRCs. 

Handler presented highlights from successful advocacy on the part of the New Jersey group in achieving state legislation requiring resident membership on governing boards of CCRCs, and, most recently, mandating threshold rights for residents in "independent living."  20131027_110124Kennedy and Colwell talked about the 10 year history of progress in their communities, building multiple pathways for residents to participate in the life of their communities, including working with provider representatives to plan for the future.  Kennedy discussed the role of California state law that helped to frame the provider/resident discussions. 

The audience included provider representatives. During the Q & A that followed the panelist presentations, the interaction generated observations about effective roles for residents on governing boards and key board committees (such as finance and quality), including success stories from communities. Several people remarked on the "process" of resident engagement, as it takes time for true engagement to become engrained as the culture of the community.

The NaCCRA meeting was part of the opening day action at the national meeting of  LeadingAge, the national trade group for nonprofit senior living providers, which runs through October 29.

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As an attendee at this NaCCRA workshop described by KP above, I would like to say what a nice job Katherine did as a facilitator. I'll bet she's good law professor. Thanks, Katherine. See you later today, here in Dallas. (I was one of the Texans in the group yesterday.)

Posted by: Jennifer Young | Oct 28, 2013 5:05:28 AM

The future of the senior living industry depends on its adaptability to move beyond merely providing care services to serving the larger needs of an aging population. The resident led events described above are a part of that visioning process.

The aim is to allow aging Americans to remain vital, vigorous, and vibrant through the successive stages of aging. That aim will be met only to the extent that the industry listens to prospective residents and residents and empowers them to participate in the emerging dialogue.

LeadingAge provides a valuable service to the industry by encouraging the residents, in their own organization, to come together with providers during the LeadingAge Annual Conference to share ideas and to better understand each other perspectives, needs, and challenges. I was at the events described above. The energy in the rooms was electric.

If the senior living industry is open to this farseeing vision, and has the flexibility to anticipate the expectations of a generation just coming into its retirement years, then the industry’s potential to thrive, rather than just to survive, will open new vistas of human service now dimly glimpsed on the far horizon.

Posted by: Jack Cumming | Oct 28, 2013 6:52:52 AM

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