LeadingAge Magazine · November-December 2016 • Volume 06 • Number 06

While researching one of our features for this issue I learned the details of TANDEM365, a partnership between 4 LeadingAge-member organizations and an ambulance company in Grand Rapids, MI. It is an integrated care organization designed to serve Medicare Advantage clients with a variety of services in the place they call home.

The CEO, Teresa Toland, told me the story of its origins, and pointed out the fact that alongside the excitement of creating a new approach to help more seniors, there was also discomfort. A group of independent providers was not only diving into a new type of service, but also learning to coordinate and systematize their operations to conform to the payer’s needs. The process also meant every organization had to evaluate the quality of its own services, which naturally meant facing the areas where it fell short, and doing so in front of the group.

Discomfort challenged a couple of other members I spoke to. Both are mission-driven providers who realized that long-term success would require short-term pain, in the form of divesting themselves of long-established assisted living or long-term skilled care communities. Both wrestled with the consequences of those decisions and the fear that they were were falling short of their missions by doing so.

Everything in life involves trade-offs, and while that unfortunately makes perfection impossible, it is also what makes observing how organizations navigate their options so interesting. For our members, managing trade-offs while advancing their missions is the essence and the challenge of strategic thinking.

Our Vision column, “Our Bold Vision for the Future,” written by LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan, lays out the why behind our new vision of “An America freed from ageism.” This is not only moral but strategic, because changing attitudes toward aging and older adults can change society, and public policy, for the better.

In “Strategizing Change,” we look at how members are rethinking their structures and services to adapt to demographic and economic changes, with those trade-offs front and center.

“Building Successful Strategic Collaborations” explains why providers can leverage their own strengths by building collaborations to serve more people.

Technology is another tool for leveraging organizational strengths, but it works best when technology has a spot at the strategic table. See “Making Technology Planning Strategic” to see how long-term services and supports providers are doing just that.

“Beginning the Conversation About Ageism” looks at the thinking behind

LeadingAge’s new vision of “An America freed from ageism,” and what members are doing to make it come true.

In “This I Have Learned …” we include 3 essays—on feelings, optimistic dreams and the power of generosity—by thoughtful leaders in our field.

Our latest installment of the “People We Serve” series brings more stories of the interesting, accomplished, and well-loved people who surround us. See “Singers, Playwrights and Valued Employees: These Are the People We Serve.”

In our Research Department, “Love of Learning Spurs Innovation for Lasell Village Nurse Leader,” you’ll meet the winner of this year’s Joan Anne McHugh Award for Leadership in Long-Term Services and Supports Nursing, and see how a dedicated leader can demonstrate the best of our field.

This issue also includes our new Volunteerism Department, with the stories of generous people who selflessly help others, and how their organizations facilitate their good works.


Gene Mitchell is editor of LeadingAge magazine.