Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

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.)

Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

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 …

Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

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.

Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

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.

Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

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.

Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

Steve Shields: A Long-Term Care Change Agent

Stephen Shields Stephen Shields, CEO,and guest speaker at Ecumen’s Leadership ConferenceMeadowlark Hills Retirement Community, Manhattan, KansasEvery year Ecumen leaders from around the region get together for our daylong leadership conference in the Twin Cities. A big highlight is always our annual innovation awards, which grew out of the Ecumen Innovation Station.We also always have fabulous speakers. This year one of the speakers was Stephen Shields, CEO of Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community in Manhattan, Kansas, who spoke on how we the people have the power to transform long-term care from an institutional-laden profession to one that is completely focused on empowering the person (and customer) we serve. Steve just greatly connected with his audience and was a hugely entertaining and engaging speaker.Here’s an interview with Steve at While much of the press on Steve is focused on changing the culture in nursing homes (See CBS Good Morning Story), his transformation story applies to any profession seeking and working on big-time change. We greatly enjoyed him.

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New Long-Term Care Savings Products Needed

Posted by Kathryn Roberts, CEO and President, Ecumen Last week Neal St. Anthony of the Minneapolis Star Tribune did a great story on boomers planning for retirement. He used information from the Ecumen Age Wave Study.What I hope that people took away from that is that we need new savings products that our future seniors see value in to purchase today to help them pay for senior care if they should need it. For most people, the current long-term care insurance product isn’t it. Most baby boomers find long-term care insurance difficult to understand. And baby boomers see it as a product they won’t need for years, so they don’t even consider it today.I’m a big advocate for hybrid products, as Donna O’Rourke discusses in her story 'Hybrid Long-Term Care Might Be Right For You.' on TheStreet.Com. As she points out there are few of those products out there today. Message to financial companies, insurance companies and state insurance commissioners … Boomers want these products. We have to change how people pay for their care, so that people can have the retirement they have worked for and that we can preserve dollars to pay for dignified, high-quality care for those people who cannot afford it. Retirement planning can’t end with the mortgage and car payments.

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The Top 5 Websites that are Changing Aging

Readers of Ecumen’s Changing Aging blog agree that vital, successful aging means that aging is about living. Through this forum, as the name states, we are Changing Aging, or more specifically, the traditional views on aging.But we’re certainly not alone in our efforts. Below, find the Top 5 web sites, compiled by Ecumen, that are putting aging in a whole new light:1. Civic Ventures: A think tank and an incubator, Civic Ventures generates ideas and invents programs to help society achieve the greatest return on experience. It sponsors the Purpose Prize.2. The Vital Aging Network: This site focuses on individuals who are sharing their strengths to promote and support the self-sufficiency, community participation, and quality of life of older adults.3. AgingTech: Like Ecumen, this site is dedicated to new technology that is helping seniors live where they want to live, how they want to live.4. The Zimmers: Awesome video, here that puts aging in a whole new light! 40 Britains in their 80s and 90s… 'Talkin About My Generation'.5. Eons: Think of it as a MySpace for global citizens 50+.Know of any other great sites? Leave a comment below and we’ll do another post like this soon!

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The Age Beat at the Seattle Times

The Strib Could Learn From The Seattle TimesNews came down yesterday that the Star Tribune is seeking 50 buyouts in the news room. My assumption is that doesn’t bode very well for the coverage of important issues, such as growing older.The Star Tribune, Pioneer Press and many newspapers could learn from the Seattle Times, which has a columnist, Liz Taylor, dedicated to the age beat. Her column looks at everything from long-term care insurance to choosing assisted living to technology in the senior housing profession. It’s a great resource.

Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

Talking Aging in the Star Tribune and N.Y. Times

A couple items on successful aging from over the weekend:Neal St. Anthony’s ColumnMinneapolis Star Tribune business columnist Neal St. Anthony wrote a column Sunday on Ecumen’s Age Wave StudyThe New York Times Magazine This Sunday’s New York Times Magazine has a series of articles related to aging baby boomers and increasing longevity. There’s another interesting story in The Times Magazine about how the TV Land cable channel is rebranding itself as the boomer channel.The Oracle of Omaha Not RetiringUber investor Warren Buffett held his annual meeting for Berkshire Hathaway fund devotees over the weekend in Omaha. Seventy-six-year-old Buffett says he has no plans to leave the holding company he’s built, because 'he loves his work too much.' Sound like someone you know?