American Society on Aging 575 Market Street, Suite 2100 San Francisco, CA 94105-2869


Elizabeth Isele p. 10 | A tireless advocate for economic, social change.

GRACE at AiA19 p. 15 | Growing GRACE: a quest to expand the eldercare workforce.


Covering advances in research, practice and policy nationwide

SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 2019 volume xl number 5

the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging t i t l f t i i t i

Learning Collaborative jump-starts CBO−MA plan partnership potential

In this issue

FORUM California prepares for population aging page 3 AGINGWITH OPTIONS The evolving role of male family caregivers page 5 IN FOCUS The business of aging: spinning gold from the “silver” economy pages 7–11 A fall reading list: new titles in aging page 13 Opening up and honing resilience in later life page 16

E ditor’s note: The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Administration for Community Living and The SCAN Foundation fund the Aging and Disability Business Institute (www.aginganddisabili , led by theNational Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). The mission of the Aging and Disability Business Institute is to build and strengthen partnerships between aging and disability community-based organizations (CBO) and the healthcare system. As a part- ner of the Aging and Disability Business In- stitute, ASA is collaborating with n4a on a series of articles and case studies in Aging

Today that prepare, educate and support CBOs and healthcare payers to provide qual- ity care and services. Since April 2019, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Aging and Dis- ability Business Institute (the Business Institute) at the National Association for Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) have hosted the Medicare Advantage Learning Col- laborative (MALC), a six-month webinar- CBOs had concerns about how well-prepared they were to partner with MA plans. based training program for community- based organizations (CBO) looking to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue partnerships and con- tracts with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to provide home- and community- based services and supports.

“We created this curriculum in re- sponse to the 2018 call letter from CMS to MA plans that described broader oppor- tunities for utilization of supplemental benefits,” said MALC lead faculty Sharon Williams, founder and CEO of Williams Jaxon Consulting. “In early 2019, when CMS published standards for special supplemental bene- fits that provided a broader scope of ex- pectations … we received lots of feedback from CBOs, with ongoing concerns around how well they would be prepared

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The 2019 MindAlert Award winner: bringing joy and connection back to older adults with dementia

Hacking longevity market trends and consumer preference By Lori Bitter T here now is heightened interest in serving the longevity market, as evidenced in The Business of Aging’s 2018 study, Hacking Longevity: A Three Generation Look at Living a 100 Year Life ( ), which painted a landscape of opportunity for companies that can speak authentically to older con- sumers, and help them navigate later life. Many companies have built products for different generations of older consumers. Though the needs of and opportunities to serve this consumer cohort are recog- nized and well-researched, some compa- nies steadfastly chase the youth market, assuming more money and opportunity lie there. Also, new companies and tech- nologies tend to target wealthier older consumers—thosewho can pay regardless

T he Birdsong Tablet is the winner of ASA’s 2019 MindAlert Award . The award is given to a mental fit- ness program developed by a nonprofit or- ganization that serves the general popula- tion of older adults. Ben Unkle, president and CEO of the senior living community Westminster- Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in Vir- ginia Beach, Va., wanted to find a way to help the people in the memory and nursing care sections of his community to “have more engagement and en- tertainment options suited for their interests.” Thus, he envisioned and com- missioned a tablet device, similar to an iPad, called the Birdsong Tablet ( www. bird ). The tablet, which is pre-loaded with curated, wide-ranging content meant to appeal to older adults, such as word games, travel sites and lifelong learning, features an uncomplicated interface, with a larger screen and bigger function but- tons, and is easy to read and navigate. At Westminster-Canterbury, the tablets are attached to bedside tables and are part of

of insurance reimbursement. Companies’ offerings could (and should) have more wide-ranging social impact and greater results with low-income adults, particu- larly those of more diverse backgrounds who may be managing multiple chronic conditions, who are more at risk for social isolation and who may not have technolo- gy to assist in their care. Nonprofit organizations can partici- pate in these marketing opportunities by educating young companies about the re- alities of older adults’ lives, and by work- ing with for-profit companies to provide distribution and pilot programs, bringing new products and services to more vul- nerable older consumers. Many companies claiming to target older adults have built and marketed products to at least two different genera-

the daily lives of residents in the assisted living and skilled nursing areas. Unkle says Birdsong has markedly helped their residents with dementia to re-engage with life, and the tablet is now offered to other retirement communities as well as the public at large. A Product Grounded in Compassion— and Research Spurred by his desire to help residents battling dementia, or seeking brain thera- py to avoid dementia, to re-engage, Unkle had been reading about the brain and the George Henrich experiments with the Birdsong Tablet as his wife, Helen, looks on.

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