On October 29th, Chevy Chase Trust hosted Leaders & Lunch: Aging in Place, a conversation with community leaders about how home and community based services have changed in recent years to make living independently achievable. Our three panelists included: Mary Ann Buckley, Executive Director of Care Management Associates, Monique Sanfuentes, Director of Suburban Hospital’s Community Health and Wellness, and Louis Tenenbaum, Founder and President of Homes Renewed and Founder of The Aging in Place Institute.
Mary Ann Buckley, began the discussion with a presentation that showcased Care Management Associates’ (CMA) services and how its team of nurses, social workers and other professionals work together to understand the specific needs of individuals including living space, care, activities and meals.
Monique Sanfuentes then discussed purposeful activities that meet identified community health needs and emphasized the importance of social interaction and brain stimulation. In particular, she discussed Suburban Hospital’s relationship with OASIS, a unique educational program serving older adults by offering challenging programs in the arts, humanities, wellness and volunteer services. Monique sited one example where local high school students volunteered with Oasis members to teach them how to send text messages, use FaceTime and other social media platforms to connect them digitally to grandchildren and relatives.
Finally, Louis Tenenbaum took a different approach to aging in place. He explained that houses should be seen as tools and gave a slide show depicting how he renovates homes to accommodate the changing needs of seniors. Though Louis stressed that a one-size-fits-all design doesn’t exist, he did encourage the use of a universal design which contains adjustments to products and spaces that can be used by a wide range of people and circumstances. A few examples described were no-step front door entries, built-in shower seats, and altered appliance heights to reduce the strain of bending down or reaching up.
Statistics show an overwhelming majority of older Americans want to remain living in their homes for as long as possible. Therefore, creating a plan is essential to gain control over one’s environment, care, quality of life, and to help prevent the unexpected from turning into a crisis.
A broad array of available classes and programs offered by local hospitals and health care facilities were outlined, as well as the many services accessible through the Villages.
For additional information on Chevy Chase Trust’s ongoing Leaders & Lunch series, please contact Stacy Murchison at Smurchison@chevychasetrust.com.