For those of us who follow the latest developments in aging in place and senior housing, it was a dizzying experience to watch Dr. Bill Thomas “lecture” consultants in the senior housing industry. In late 2014, I had the pleasure of attending one of Dr Thomas’s earlier stops on his Challenging Aging tour. Catching up with his latest endeavors, I find he has not lost his zeal for getting out in front and saying what needs to be said about ageism and the faults in the current system of senior care. He is still leading the good fight about what needs to change in the very structure of how that system treats the oldest among us.
If you can devote some time to listen to even part of his recent presentation in front of the Senior Living Innovation forum, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jApwzsiycM you will perhaps come away with a new perspective. This is the same crusader that has said that the worst 10% of nursing homes should be closed every year. He is scrupulous about the language we utilize to talk about aging. He has stopped using the word elderly and does not like it when people refer to older people as, “they still do this or that” as the compliment of last resort.
One of the most important takeaways for me was his comment that it is an optical illusions that the boxes of care we put seniors in, independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care are really connected. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at this meeting to hear part of the audience saying to themselves, “but the assisted living unit is just 30 yards away from the skilled nursing building!” He is deriding the popular notion of one stop or rather as he puts it the one long escalator ride down to the bottom when it comes to the popular notion of continuum of care or CCRCs.
On a more positive note he is offering some new incentives to shake up the status quo of senior health and housing. One of his newest innovations is MESH. Seniors no matter what age need to be able to continue to move, eat well, sleep well and heal. I was wondering when he would get around to addressing the inevitability of the aging at home choice for so many. He is also kicking off MAGIC: Multi-Ability, Generational, Inclusive and Connected and a design for a My Minka tiny house. For a full look at the rebel for our cause read: https://changingaging.org/blog/independence-rising/?utm_source=ChangingAging&utm_campaign=b53d2188cc-issue_008&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10c6c015a2-b53d2188cc-57737041&mc_cid=b53d2188cc&mc_eid=22c43c07c5
Back in my blog you will find: http://waystostay.org/?s=little+houses+on+the+prairie . I had searched for independent housing without a big price tag and highlighted a small community in Florida that has some real spunk. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are starting to be more a topic of conversation with the zoning hassles still to come. The idea of building a bunch of them in one place at affordable prices is still just a good idea but at least it is a definable one.
Things are starting to accelerate, better hold on for the ride.