Putting Vision Into Practice: Presenting the 2015 LeadingAge National Award Winners
July 16, 2015 | by Deborah Cloud
We honor the visionaries who are creating the future of aging services.
LeadingAge members believe in vision. They are committed to innovative, adaptive, quality care and services for seniors in the present, but are not content to simply wait for the future. They want to shape it. Our members live the LeadingAge mission to expand the world of possibilities for aging, and the winners of this year’s LeadingAge Awards embody that commitment. Dr. William L. (Larry) Minnix
President and CEO
LeadingAge, Washington, DC
Larry Minnix has been an outstanding champion for older persons not only as president and CEO of LeadingAge but throughout his long career. In the words of LeadingAge members who nominated him for this high honor:
“Larry has been ‘the voice’ of not-for-profit long-term care throughout the nation … His advocacy and determination are second to none … His storytelling skills are part of his messaging, which is so very effective.”
“Larry has shown the highest level of innovation and dedication in our field throughout his career at Wesley Woods [in Atlanta] and AAHSA/LeadingAge …. His record over the past 15 years is an amazing story of service and commitment … His name is well-known and respected in the halls of Congress and at the White House along with the federal agencies that help us serve our missions.”
“Larry Minnix has represented the heart and soul of the membership these last 15 years as CEO. But in addition, prior to that, he worked admirably for decades in a leading member organization. Both roles would individually be deserving of this honor upon retirement, but to have accomplished both is a testimony to Larry’s endurance and focus on ‘doing the right thing for the right reason.’
“He is truly one of the giants on whose shoulders others … will stand for years to come.” Charles “Charlie” Routh
Friends Homes at Guilford, Greensboro, NC
Charlie Routh’s volunteer achievements are multiple and varied. Now 88, he continues to give his “time, talent and treasure” to assist people within his local Friends Meeting, North Carolina Friends and internationally.
He has made over 138 mission trips with the NC Friends Disaster Services (NCFDS), furnishing home repair skills and needed supplies. He has also given substantial financial support to NCFDS to purchase additional materials needed while on mission trips, and he provides travel “scholarships” for mission volunteers who want to participate but can’t afford to. He and wife, Mary, donated a home and 12 acres to provide space for the Friends Center at Guilford College as well as setting a “Routh Challenge” to raise funds for the center.
For 45 years, Routh has been a Handy Hands volunteer for the Shepherd’s Center of Greensboro, doing small appliance and home repairs, and generously supporting the center’s endowment fund. A resident of Friends Home at Guilford since 2005, he has served Friends Home as both trustee and benefactor.
Routh has made significant, long-term commitments to all these agencies and organizations through the years, playing key roles in their development and continued growth. His influence has strengthened them and ensured their lasting impact locally and abroad. Augustana Care
Founded more than a century ago, Augustana Care is recognized for a broad array of initiatives and collaborations that are helping older adults engage with the world around them while maintaining as much independence as possible.
These initiatives, to name a few, include: (1) a student residence program that provides discounted housing to medical, seminary and health-disciplines students, who learn from residents while living alongside them; (2) a sensory worship service designed for those with memory loss; (3) a “comprehensive living campus” in partnership with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and others to offer housing, health care and community services to low-income seniors living in public housing; and (4) in partnership with IKEA, a model apartment with independent living features for older adults who may be downsizing.
Augustana Care also was named one of the 10 best places to work by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community
West Columbia, SC
Still Hopes developed a high-profile triathlon team training program that has bloomed into a holistic environment of empowerment, inspiration and social engagement. Team members discover that aging need not mean decline but continued growth in mind, body and spirit.
Each year, Still Hopes residents and Columbia-area residents 55-plus train and compete in a USA Triathlon-sanctioned sprint triathlon in which they swim 350 yards, bike 13 hilly miles and walk/run 3.1 miles. In all, 29 adults ages 55 to 78 have finished, and 14 have placed first-to-third in their designated age group.
Still Hopes offers a 20-week training program for triathlon beginners with the only criteria being that each know how to swim, possess a bicycle and have the ability to walk briskly for 20 minutes. Those more fit or experienced train for 12 weeks. The USA Triathlon-certified coach works patiently with people fearful of water or bike riding.
Participants report finding deep personal satisfaction and confidence in completing the training and the race. Team members, regardless of body type, age or ability, gradually start thinking of themselves as athletes, some for the first time in their lives. Springpoint Senior Living
Wall Township, NJ
Springpoint’s comprehensive program of employment training, benefits, recognition and engagement demonstrates its commitment to workplace excellence.
Thirty-two percent of employees have worked at Springpoint for 5-plus years, and 63 employees have been with the organization 20 years or more. On average, staff members spend 40 hours per year in training and development. Springpoint offers a Nurse Aide Advancement program, an Administrators-in-Training program, a Tomorrow’s Leaders program, and supports six staff who serve as Administrative Internship Program preceptors. The benefits package includes generous tuition benefits for undergraduate and graduate education.
In 2011, Springpoint invested in a third-party, company-wide audit of HR policies and practices to identify key areas of success and a long-term strategy for training, workforce development and communication. Its Human Resource Advisory Board, made up of 16 employees, guides the implementation and ensures continued focus on improvement. Springpoint’s goal is to be a community of individuals who are passionate about what they do and engaged in making a difference in the lives of residents, families and the larger community. Lorraine Breuer
Nerken Center for Research and Grants
Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, New Hyde Park, NY
Lorraine Breuer is a consummate catalyst for growth and innovation and has been essential in securing the Nerken Center’s position as a nationally recognized geriatric research center.
She is responsible for supervision of all agency research; Institutional Review Board activity and grant development, including Fellow research, clinical trials, health services research, and survey design and implementation. Her research has broad implications for the welfare of aging populations. Studies related to dementia education, prevention of elder abuse, and paraprofessional, community-oriented caregiving have been replicated in organizations across the country.
Breuer has translated the success of the Willing Hearts, Helpful Hands program—an innovative caregiver respite program and her brainchild—into a blueprint for implementation in other settings. She also has written and published extensively, and has presented her findings at national conferences and symposia to wide acclaim. Sandra Massetti
Executive Vice President, Chief Healthcare Officer
Phoebe Ministries, Allentown, PA
Sandy Massetti’s mentoring has enabled those with whom she works to grow into leadership roles at Phoebe Ministries and in volunteer leadership roles for LeadingAge Pennsylvania. Her expertise in caring for older adults, combined with the ability to inspire and encourage her staff, have fostered unique services for Phoebe residents and the community.
Some of the many testimonials from persons she has mentored:
“She’s very good at bringing a team together and focusing them on a larger goal. They then know what they need to do to attain that goal, and she lets them do it without micromanaging.”
“She gives people the tools and empowers them to do their jobs. She is still there as a resource and can intervene if needed.”
“As a mentor, she displays honesty, integrity and stewardship … She has been both resource and catalyst for the improvement of many programs …”
Employees Massetti mentors feel as though their work has purpose and meaning, which encourages them to propose their own suggestions for change and renewal. Greenspring
An appreciation for diversity and inclusion is embedded in Greenspring’s culture.
This is manifested in various ways, including 1) the resident-employee Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s work; (2) partnerships with schools and community groups to employ special needs students at Greenspring; (3) an in-house Pastoral Ministries Department that supports 20 faith groups; (4) an annual Diversity Expo, where many customs, traditions, foods and cultures are shared; (5) English as a second language tutoring; (6) tutorial preparation for U.S. citizenship testing, with 700 employees completing this program since 2002; and (7) an on-campus PFLAG group that coordinates with local PFLAG chapters to advocate for LGBT persons. John Watson
Chief Operating Officer
The Cedars, Portland, ME
John Watson’s work has changed the landscape of nursing community reimbursement in Maine. He has advocated tirelessly for changes in payment policy and, though patience and persistence, has found others willing to listen.
Watson challenged the legality of certain MaineCare rules and won. He has been appointed twice by the governor to commissions to study long-term care and has been highly influential in advancing legislation and testifying on key bills. He helped ensure the defeat of a bill for alternative calculation of minimum staffing levels by identifying the potential for harm to seniors. He pushed the state to allow greater licensing flexibility in bringing services to independent living residents so they may better age in place.
At Watson’s community, advocacy has become a standard agenda item for all board meetings. As a result, The Cedars’ trustees are able to respond quickly to issues when needed. In addition, the community hosts an annual legislative forum and periodic open forums to which all Maine not-for-profits are invited.
Watson has helped ensure that LeadingAge Maine & New Hampshire is recognized as the voice of not-for-profits. ACT on Alzheimer’s
State of Minnesota
ACT on Alzheimer’s is not a single organization but an extraordinary collaboration of hundreds of participants, including 60-plus not-for-profit, governmental and private organizations in Minnesota. They have used the platform of collective action to impact the state’s capacity to support persons with dementia.
No one organization funds ACT or leads it, and yet in the four years of its existence, it has developed tools to influence diagnosis, medical education, community preparedness and policy development. LeadingAge members have made important contributions every step of the way.
Components of ACT’s groundbreaking work are being used in other state and national models. The ACT on Alzheimer’s interdisciplinary curriculum is serving as the basis for a national dementia curriculum being developed by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. In addition, ACT is providing the foundational model for the Dementia Friendly America initiative.