Wayne Langley

We were pleased to sponsor a basecamp at this year’s LeadingAge PEAK Conference. While much of our team was front and center, sharing knowledge and experience, I took the opportunity to attend other presentations and listen to what our colleagues in the aging services space were saying. After reflecting on the event, I boiled my experience down to three takeaways that really provided insight for me.

Design Trends

My favorite presentation from the event had to be “7 Hot Design Trends” from Gregory Scott of RLPS Architects. Greg is well-known in our space, and I really respect his insight. He covered a plethora of information in his 20 minutes on stage. From the desire for more urban-style living to hybrid homes and how to make the most of apartment repositions, it was a wealth of great tips and tricks. Certainly, I’ll always remember this — “When remodeling an apartment, don’t mess with the plumbing. Leave it where it is and build around it.” That’s some great advice!

Expanding Services and Communities

Across the country, we are seeing a trend of growth among providers. However, the form this growth takes can be very different from organization to organization. We heard from Bob Dahl of Elim Care regarding the community’s expansion to new parts of the country, spurred on by grassroots support, which, in turn, caused a realignment in strategic thinking for Elim.

On the other end of the spectrum, we heard from the Abramson Center for Jewish Life, which has found new ways to provide services to the wider community while not drastically expanding its campus size. By offering more home-based services, Abramson has seen rapid growth over the last 10 years, going from serving 400 people to more than 4,000 within a decade.

Both of these models have merit, and we’ll be interested to see how other organizations put these lessons into practice.

The Growth and Impact of Memory Support

Our team thoroughly enjoyed the Great Minds Gala, held on Tuesday evening. LeadingAge honored award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden and renowned chef Madison Cowan with the Proxmire Award for their advocacy and activism for people impacted by memory diseases. The growth of the memory support sector within aging services is phenomenal, and at Varsity, we are working on some creative ways to bring awareness to the value memory support can provide, including a better quality of life for the individuals and their families.

We thank LeadingAge for a great conference and hope that everyone who stopped by our basecamp learned something valuable from our team!