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The Silent Generation

Because there are approximately 77 million baby boomers in America and 1.5 million in Minnesota, we talk a lot about the baby boomers and their impact on senior housing and services, but the true next generation of seniors is the Silent Generation.' Gene Dolloff, who heads senior dining services at Morrison Management Specialists visited Ecumen recently and shared with us interesting information on the Silents. Morrison serves approximately 400 senior housing communities in the United States and many continuing care retirement communities, which are popular in other parts of the country, but haven’t hit Minnesota. Morisson’s research is qualitative and quantitative. Here are some interesting items from Morrison’s research as to how Silents (which were born between 1925 and 1942) differ from the GI Generation:- Silents are more assertive, questioning than GIs.- They travel more.- More independent, demonstrate more control over choices.- Less formal, more social, more vocal- More health and fitness conscious- More educatedLooking at some of the key characteristics of Silents, it’s clear that they’re going to demand different senior housing options and services as they age. Innovation can’t wait for the baby boomers.

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Elderly Also Read Paper

The following is from a letter to the Star Tribune by Kathryn Roberts, CEO & President of Ecumen regarding the reassignment of reporter Warren Wolfe and the discontinuing of his aging beat:Warren’s curiosity and dedication to telling the stories of growing older in Minnesota have been a great service to readers. I’m amazed that the Star Tribune would retrench on aging as our region faces an unprecedented age wave. Right along with historic demographic change will be newsworthy transformation in technology, senior services, housing, public policy, the workplace and more.As Kathryn states in the conclusion of her letter, 'Much is changing about aging in the 21st century.'We hope that the Star Tribune will soon find a way to share this news with the return of an aging beat that supports vital, successful aging.Until then, the Changing Aging blog will remain a public forum to discuss noteworthy senior issues.

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Congratulations to Eric Schubert!

Eric Schubert, Ecumen’s Director of Communications, was honored as a 40 Under 40' by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.The '40 Under 40' compiled annually, credits accomplished professionals in the fields of business, government and non-profits who have yet to reach 40 years of age.Says the Journal,'Schubert began his career with an ambush. After returning to Minnesota following a brief internship with a PR firm in Atlanta, Schubert waited outside the WCCO Radio Building in downtown Minneapolis while ad man Dave Mona and Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman were winding up their Sunday talk show. When Mona emerged from the office building, Schubert pounced and gave a 2-minute sales pitch while Mona walked to his car. Shortly after that, he was hired.'Schubert later spent eight years working at Himle Hormer, a Minneapolis based communications firm before joining Team Ecumen three years ago. Since then, he has received the 2005 Citizens League Civic Leadership Award for efforts to address statewide issues in a bipartisan manner and has frequently contributed to the Star Tribune & Pioneer Press opinion pages.Quotes Schubert to the Journal regarding his work Ecumen, 'Our focus is on changing the experience of aging by helping people live where they want to live. I never thought I’d find myself here, but it’s very rewarding.'Congratulations again, to Eric Schubert! We are extremely fortunate to have you on our team.

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The Opportunities for Long-Term Care Insurance

It is often said that insurance is sold not bought. But when it comes to long-term-care (LTC) insurance, it’s neither sold nor bought. Insurers are apparently having a tough go convincing Americans to buy insurance that could cover the costs of health expenses, home health aides, assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, among other items … . This is the intro from an interesting article by Robert Powell at fact is that the American public is just absolutely wary of long-term care insurance products. What an opportunity for insurance companies to develop new hybrid products that the next generation of seniors see value in right now. Genworth Financial really starts to hit the mark with their '100+ stories' featuring centenarians who planned ahead. As the voiceover says … there’s a difference 'between living long and living well. That’s an important point for senior housing and aging services professionals.You can read more about what Minnesota baby boomers say about long-term care insurance as they look ahead to being Minnesota seniors by reading our Age Wave Study. It’s clear to them that aging is all about living and they want the senior housing, insurance options and public policy that help them live the way they want to.

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Communities Not Prepared for Aging Baby Boomers

A new study led by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and funded by MetLife Foundation in partnership with the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities finds that only 46% of American communities have begun planning to address the needs of the exploding population of aging baby boomers. Information gathered from local governments surveyed shows that:

  • in 1/3 of those communities older adults do not have access to a range of needed, preventative health care services;
  • more than 1/3 of communities do not have fitness programs for older adults;
  • many communities are not addressing the mobility needs of an aging population;
  • Only half the communities reported having home modification programs that adapt the existing homes of older adults to address physical limitations which would allow seniors to live in their own homes.

To see what Minnesota baby boomers are thinking about in terms of successful aging, read the Ecumen Age Wave Study.

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Senior Housing and Target Corporation

One of our esteemed colleagues here at Ecumen was recruited away by Target Corporation to help expand their in-store clinic venture. The creativity and big thinking that she provided in senior housing and aging services will serve Target well.Speaking of Target, there was a May 7th Wall Street Journal interview with Target’s top executives. Two comments from president Gregg Steinhafel are particularly of interest for senior housing and long-term care professionals working to innovate. Here are the excerpts: WSJ: How do you keep coming up with cutting-edge merchandise and marketing ideas …?We reward innovation, we recognize it, we talk about it a lot. We look for innovation globally in every corner of the world in everything we do, whether it’s architecture or marketing or merchandising or new technology systems.We share ideas so that a good idea in one part of the company can translate to another. We have the line Simply Shabby Chic, for instance, and we’re able to say well, you know, that has application in pets. Now who’d have thought that you could take print and pattern and what we do in dinnerware and put it on doggy bowls? We’re structured in a way that fosters innovation. WSJ: How do you balance taking creative changs with minimizing risk?It’s important that we push the envelope and that we fail. I’ve described on my conference calls a number of merchandising initiatives where we pushed too far, too fast. Like domestics where we got a little out in front of ourselves with too high a thread count in sheets and too many top of bed products at high prices. We recognize that when we do fail, we make the course corrections and we don’t penalize the teams that have made these calculated risks.(Gee, senior housing would have looked nice on top of that new Target store in downtown Minneapolis. Seniors and baby boomers say that they love to be close to shopping … A Target senior housing development partnership … interesting concept.)

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New Gargantuan Nursing Home Stirs Debate

From the What Were They Thinking Department?' comes this story from the Wall Street Journal last week about a new nursing home being built in San Francisco …On a hill overlooking the city, the cavernous Laguna Honda nursing home stands as a living relic of another era. Inside, hundreds of its residents live in impersonal wards of up to 28 beds each, an arrangement conjuring up institutions that warehoused the elderly and frail decades ago …

The city’s effort to spend roughly $620 million to replace a huge old nursing home with a huge new one bucks a tenuous trend across the country aimed at changing how the elderly and infirm live their last years. Increasingly, states and cities have begun to shift toward providing services in homes or home-like settings such as 'assisted-living' facilities sprinkled through communities …

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New Senior Housing Community in Duluth Developed by Ecumen

Duluth, Minn., (May 11, 2007) €“ With the opening of 100 apartments that overlook Lake Superior in Duluth, Minn., Ecumen has completed Lakeshore, a new senior housing community. A total repositioning from its former status as an outdated nursing home, Ecumen completely updated this brand new senior housing development with a variety of housing options and services.

The new Lakeshore community, which is located just a few blocks from the historic Glensheen Mansion, includes:

  • 100 senior independent living apartments at The Crest. Floor plans range in size from approximately 800 square feet to nearly 1,900 square feet, with some of the best views of Lake Superior.

  • 60 assisted living apartments at The Shores, with 20 apartments specializing in memory care.

  • A rehabilitation center located at The Fountains, complete with 60 private rooms.

Lakeshore also features QuietCare sensor technology, which helps to early identify small health problems.

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Ageism at Star Tribune?

Crummy news from the Star Tribune newsroom. It is eliminating its aging beat and sending Warren Wolfe to another beat. Warren has a great interest in aging and was always a pleasure to work with. His passion for aging services is greatly valued by the professionals in this profession and the readers he served.Questions for the Strib? Why would you eliminate the aging beat, when we are facing an unprecedented, transformational age wave in Minnesota? In 2020, for the first time we’re going to have more seniors than children.Aging is all about local news and it’s interesting because it impacts all of us: retirement being redefined, new technology helping people live independently, new senior housing and living innovations, increased longevity and wellness, the financial and public policy decisions we’ll have to make as society to deal with costs that come with increased longevity . . and on and on… . Maybe if the Strib is not going to have a beat or column dedicated to aging, like a number of other big city papers are, perhaps it will move aging stories into the business page, metro page, features and elsewhere. Ignoring aging has another name: ageism.

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Shepherd on the Lake and Senior Housing

Interesting article in today’s Star Tribune on a new senior housing development being built in Prior Lake by Presbyterian Homes. It’s a senior housing development that will ultimately combine a Lutheran Church, YMCA, medical center, and youth center.This is a fabulous approach and a complete no brainer! Boomers told us in our Age Wave study that they want to be close to church, health care, shopping and they want to live in a 'community,' not an institution. Kudos to Shepherd on the Lake for their vision and for integrating senior housing into their larger community.