Culture Archives – Varsity Branding

Tag: Culture

You’ve heard all the ageist cliches: Act your age. You’re no spring chicken. Old dogs can’t learn new tricks. You’re out of touch with society. And so many more. 

Is there any truth to these? Probably not. But here’s what we did realize about pop culture: You don’t have to be young to be relevant. 

Negative comments about aging and biases against older adults are pervasive in our lives. Which is why it’s so refreshing to see that pop culture has been debunking some of those stereotypes. Essentially, you can be mature and relevant, and we’re seeing proof of that in everything from toys to music. 

Justice for older women

Let’s talk about former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was always an influential public figure throughout her career. But it wasn’t until her 80s when she truly became a pop culture icon. The film “RBG details her unlikely rise to stardom, including how she was lovingly nicknamed “Notorious RBG” by her fans.

Thanks to the wildly successful “Barbie movie, the iconic, sexagenarian brand is more popular than ever — with consumers of all ages. Most notably, director Greta Gerwig used the movie to challenge age-related stereotypes of women in the film industry. Barbie’s longevity has impacted many generations, and it’s refreshing to see that impact get updated in a positive way. For example, last fall Mattel released a limited-edition Stevie Nicks Barbie doll, whose style and dress pays homage to the 75-year-old Fleetwood Mac singer. 

Musicians don’t seem to age

Look at Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, both 80, who released their first Rolling Stones album in 18 years last fall. Yes, it’s true, society is still worshiping these octogenarian rockers — and rightfully so. Their “Hackney Diamonds” album even features guest appearances from the likes of Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

Speaking of McCartney, 81, he’s another example of a musician who’s not slowing down anytime soon. Last year alone, he put out his “Eyes of the Storm” photography exhibition and accompanying book, a new podcast, finished up his Got Back tour and released the last Beatles song, “Now and Then.”

Also last year, 76-year-old Elton John completed his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. That’s after his relentless touring over the past 50-plus years, playing nearly 4,600 shows in 80 countries. 

At 90, Willie Nelson released his 74th solo studio album, “Bluegrass,” and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He continues to tour and perform. 

And we can’t forget how Dolly Parton stole the show when she appeared at the Thanksgiving day Cowboys-Commanders game dressed as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. She’s still got it at 77.

TV is the fountain of youth

This mature and relevant theme continues on TV. In fact, “Golden Girls,” four older women turned roommates, does seem to get better with age. After over 30 years since it last aired, its sassy dialogue still resonates with many, particularly millennials and the LGBTQ+ community.

There are also newer TV shows that play up older stars. “The Golden Bachelorfeatured Gerry Turner, 71. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were brought back into the spotlight with TV series “Grace and Frankie.” More than 30 years after the end of “Cheers,” Ted Danson is still being celebrated on TV, most recently with “The Good Place and “Mr. Mayor.” Michael Douglas starred in the “The Kominsky Method,” a show about an aging, once-famous actor who now makes a living as an acting coach. And even Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are as chic as ever in “And Just Like That …“, the Sex and the Citysequel. Only this time they’re dealing with issues like teenage kids and menopause, all while debunking media stereotypes of over-50 women. 

We’re just scratching the surface. There are endless examples of pop culture giving old age a fresh look. Maybe it’s because there’s an unprecedented population growth of people 65 and older. Or maybe society’s perspective has simply broadened to be more equitable to all ages. In any case, Jamie Lee Curtis, who won the first Oscar of her career for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at age 64, said it best: “This word ‘anti-aging’ has to be struck. I am pro-aging. I want to age with intelligence, and grace, and dignity, and verve, and energy. I don’t want to hide from it.”

Q & A With Sara Breindel, Chief of Staff at Changing the Narrative

Changing the Narrative is a leading national effort to end ageism through evidence-based strategies and innovative public-facing campaigns.

Q. Why did you join Changing the Narrative?
A. I was working in marketing communications for older adults and attended a 2018 training for professionals at Changing the Narrative, which really shifted my perspective. I learned that many of the stories we told about older people were stereotypes — older people are not a homogeneous group. I was drawn to join the organization soon after, first as a content creator and now as chief of staff and co-director.

There’s a lot going on at Changing the Narrative, not just anti-ageist birthday cards, but workshops to promote age-inclusive workplaces, intergenerational conversations, social media campaigns and more. In this culture, we’re doing a disservice to ourselves with many of the stories we tell about what it means to get older — and Changing the Narrative wants to change that.

Q. What is the anti-ageist birthday card project?
A. The idea was to engage people at birthdays, because it’s a time when we all think about aging. Cards are a very visual example of ageism. One example was a card with a picture of a walker and a line that said, “Here’s your next birthday present.” Why is that OK to say?

We launched our first set of birthday cards in 2020. Because we’re headquartered in Colorado, we called for local artists to create general age-positive cards. For the second round of cards in 2023, we engaged with existing designers at small greeting card companies from across the nation, asking for specific messaging that used age-positive language as well as images.

When picking out birthday cards, we want people to take a little pause and think about the message they’re sending. Some cards send a really negative message about getting older. Ask yourself: Is that how I think of my friends and colleagues? That they should feel bad about themselves — old and ugly?

It takes time, but these awareness campaigns can change peoples’ perspectives. The genesis for this idea actually came from one our volunteers, who was about to turn 70, and she had already talked to her friends about her work with us. For the first time ever, she got no negative cards about aging on her birthday.

Q. What is implicit bias and how can birthday cards change that?
A. We’ve all been surrounded with negative messages about older people and we now believe them about ourselves. We don’t realize we have this implicit bias — even about ourselves. Our negative beliefs about aging actually hurt our ability to age well. Receiving positive card messages can help us celebrate a milestone rather than fear it and start to chip away at the idea that aging has nothing to offer.

Q. What can we do to get involved?
A. It’s easy to say, “I’m going to grab the first thing I see in the card aisle.” People might take a second look and ask, “Is this a positive sentiment?” Every time we purchase something, we’re telling the industry, “there’s a market for this.” If we start picking up cards that are more age-positive, it can change what companies sell. People looking for age-positive cards can find them on our site, but wherever you buy them, we encourage you to think about the message you’re sending.

Q. Why is it important to foster a positive picture of aging?
A. Getting older can bring health problems, but it brings great things as well. Greater resilience, wisdom, experience and an ability to form connections all come with age.

A study by Yale University professor Dr. Becca Levy showed that people live an average of 7.5 years longer if they have positive feelings about getting older. Something seemingly small like a birthday card, or our larger initiatives to help end workplace discrimination, can work to create a more positive view of aging.

To learn more about what Changing the Narrative is doing to end ageism, visit their website.

 

Q&A with CC Young Resident Advocate Dess Rolfe

Can you give an overview of what a resident advocate does?

The role of the resident advocate at CC Young is to represent the residents and their families in expressing unresolved issues and concerns, taking them to management, and bringing those concerns to a timely solution. I listen, observe, interact, communicate and resolve.

How do you get in touch with residents?

I attend meetings and functions where they are present. Because I conduct surveys on the services we offer, I am in touch with many of them daily. Also, for the convenience of residents and families, we make information about me and the advocate position readily available on our website, in the resident handbook, and other CC Young publications on campus. I also hand out a lot of business cards, and my cell number is on the card.

My goal is for our residents to view me as a friend. If they have an issue that cannot wait until business hours, I want them to feel free to call me anytime.

How was the resident advocate position created?

Shortly after Russell Crews became CC Young’s President and CEO, he talked to me about a role he had in mind for me. We had worked together at another company, and he knew my background and work history. We talked about what he envisioned and what this title might be for this particular role. At that time, he said my main responsibility would be “to make the residents happy.” We began there and went forward. Over the past eight years, my responsibilities have evolved around this original concept.

Why is it so important to have a resident advocate?

The residents respond in a positive way to having their own advocate on campus — someone they know and trust who will always have time for them. In being available and listening to the residents and sometimes families, issues can be broken down and resolved before they grow in dimension.

What do you hear from residents?

The residents tell me they are happy that I am here to help them. They know they can call me, and together, we can get to the bottom of any concern and solve it quickly. They also tell other people. Many times, when I meet a visitor or new resident, they say, “I’ve heard of you. You helped my relative when they were here at CC Young.”

What is a typical day?

There are no typical days. While there are scheduled meetings, events and activities, the balance of my time is spent in relationship-building and problem-solving.

What advice would you give communities?

To have an advocate who is immediately available when an issue arises and one who proactively reaches out to residents and families very quickly. It’s important in this role to be a good listener, have empathy for the situation, look into the matter, and follow up with an answer.

What is your background?

I’ve been at CC Young for 12 years, and in this role for eight. I believe many of my previous positions have prepared me for the resident advocate position. My first summer job in high school was at a small hospital of 25 beds. Later, I became a certified medical secretary, and was a family service counselor at a local funeral home. I’ve also worked for several physicians and psychiatrists. A few years ago, I became a Texas certified mediator.

Most recently, I was asked by CC Young to teach the customer service/hospitality module in orientation to all new employees.

What is CC Young’s point of view on customer service?

Our vision is to enhance the quality of life for all we serve. We put the residents first. It is very important to build relationships through our respectful and caring approach.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

Seeing that the residents and families are happy, with as little stress as possible, and that their issues are resolved quickly — to serve in such a manner that their lives are enriched because I was there to help.

 

 

In roundtable #8, communities brainstormed and asked for suggestions about marketing during COVID-19. Cory Lorenz, Varsity media director, joined our discussion to share insights on media consumption during this period of social distancing.

Check out the takeaways below. You are also welcome to attend our next sales & marketing roundtable, coming up this week.

Cory Lorenz shares insights on media consumption:

 Overall points:

  • Everyone is isolated — not just seniors.
  • Media consumption is up 60 percent since the quarantine.
  • Netflix has over 2MM new members.
  • Google keywords around senior living are up to record levels.
    • Advertisers like AARP are spending more than ever before on digital ($17.6MM since 3/13/20).
  • Coming out of COVID-19, consumers are increasingly adopting free, ad-supported streaming services compared to paid streaming services.

Differentiating services:

  • MVPD (multi-channel video programming distributor)
    • Video content delivered to consumers from a cable provider through a set-top box
    • Major players: Comcast, DISH, Time Warner Cable, Fios
  • OTT (over the top):
  • CTV (connected TV):

Discussion:

How communities are putting broadcast to work:

“We bought cable through Comcast, and we targeted typical stations for seniors (news, weather, HGTV, etc.). We’ve seen some good interest, and it supports the lift we’ve seen in online metrics (along with mailers and other online media). The spot was previously produced, and we thought it would be nice to show lifestyle and happiness vs. the COVID message.”

Join the next sales & marketing roundtable on May 21!

We thank everyone for participating, and we invite you to join the next session on Thursday, May 21, at noon ET.

This week, Robinson Smith, creative director at Varsity, will join our general discussion for part of the session to share his perspective on branding in a time of changing messaging.

You don’t have to be a client to join — all are welcome. For call-in information, email .

 

 

 

 

I was fortunate to attend the LeadingAge PA Fellows in Leadership graduation ceremony in Allentown, PA. I came away with some serious leadership envy. It was obvious that during this year-long program, the group had become extremely tight knit and the Fellows had grown very comfortable around one another. You could tell they really appreciated being able to bounce ideas off their new network of peers and having very supportive and approachable leaders within each group.

At one point, there was an exercise where people went around the room and commented on each other’s strengths. They gave thoughtful and sincere answers and you could tell that their words were from the heart.

The sentiments shared at the larger meeting were echoed by two people I spoke with in more depth: Diane Burfeindt, Vice President of Population Health at Presbyterian Senior Living, a coach, and Brian Mailliard, CFO at St. Paul’s Senior Living Community, a Fellow. Both were part of the same small group.

As we discussed the year-long journey, the two remembered back to the first day. At first, Brian was hesitant to try the program. He didn’t know what to expect. “My hesitation went away – day one – minutes into the first session,” he said. “The program changed my whole approach to leadership.”

During the year the group was together, Diane found it interesting that many participants underwent changes and growth in their responsibilities and titles. “Change can be scary, even if it’s a positive thing,” she said.  “Luckily, they had the group to fall back on. Typically, you don’t have people to talk to about work. This was a safe place where people could talk about their challenges.”

Brian seconded that thought. “Before when I would have a difficult situation or tough conversation at work, I felt like I was out on an island — who could I ever talk to that had that experience? Now that we’ve gone through this program, we can pick up the phone and call someone.”

The group plans to keep on being that support system for one another through phone calls and meetings. “One of the most important parts of the leadership academy is what happens after it’s over,” Diane said.

Both Diane and Brian agreed that leadership isn’t a destination, it’s a lifelong journey.

“It continues to remind me every year – leadership is a process and you’re never done,” Diane said. “It’s growth and a part of life – it’s not separate from your personal life. If you think you know it all as a person, then you sort of stagnate. It’s nice to be with the Fellows and the class and get out of your daily routine and remind yourself of that.”

“This program is only one tool,” Brian added. “The biggest realization is that you’ve got to always be working at leadership. Whether it’s reading or conferences or signing up for specific programs — if you don’t make it an intentional part of your career then you’re going to get caught up in the day to day and put it off.”

One of the most fascinating components of the program was the final project each Fellow had to present. Brian completed his on a program called Share Care, an innovative housing solution for low-income seniors. Stay tuned for more details in a guest post from Brian.

 

 

Today’s blog is contributed by Kim Lehman, Varsity’s PR Strategist. Kim has more than 25 years of experience developing and implementing public relations campaigns for a diverse roster of clients, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Ad Council, The Coca-Cola Company, Kohl’s, Johnson & Johnson, Messiah Lifeways, Presby’s Inspired Life and many more.

Kim has placed stories for her clients with top-tier and trade outlets, including Today, Good Morning America, Real Simple, The New York Times, O —The Oprah Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Business Journals, WSJ, USA Today, 50Plus Life, McKnight’s and Senior Living News, among others.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to ask yourself an important question: Are you telling your organization’s story? Every organization has a story to tell — you just need to find the most impactful way to package it up and deliver it to a broader audience.

Here are some time-tested tips and strategies that have proven effective in telling the stories of my clients’ communities.

Tip 1: Contact the media when you don’t have anything to announce
It’s so important to build relationships with the industry and your local journalists so that when you do need to make an announcement or handle a crisis, you have already made a connection. It can be as easy as sending a quick email or making a phone call to introduce yourself as a resource for future stories.

Tip 2: Know the reporters that cover your market
Learn who covers senior living, then read their articles and follow them on social media. Drop the person a note and say, “I found your article about (TOPIC) interesting because…”  Take it a step forward and share his or her article on your social media channels. Everyone likes a good share!

Tip 3: Attend conferences
Many times, industry journalists are open to learning more about your organization. Book 15-minute one-on-one interviews with these reporters and offer something of value or uniqueness to them. It’s a great way to start building relationships.

Tip 4: Think local
Everyone wants stories in large dailies, but the hyper-local papers are just as important and most often are looking for content.

Tip 5: Spotlight the people that make your community unique
The residents and staff who live and work in your community are what make you truly different. Think about how you can highlight their special qualities in feature stories. Tell these stories through traditional media outlets and share them on your social media channels.

Tip 6: Tap into teachable moments
Look at events that happen throughout the year, such as Older Americans Month in May. Create an editorial calendar to make sure you don’t miss out on times of the year to pitch a story about your community.

Tip 7: Always ask, “What’s the visual?”
If you want coverage for an event, you have to think about what’s going to be visually interesting about it, especially if you want local TV stations to attend your event. Most newspapers and magazines are online too, so think about what the visual is for them, as well. They, too, are looking for video content and photography that can bring a story to life, be shareable and get clicks.

Tip 8: Connect with local universities
If you don’t have money in your budget to hire a professional photographer or videographer, communications departments can connect you with students looking to gain experience.

Tip 9: Think intergenerational
One of our clients hired high school students to help set up residents’ iPads and their mobile phones, download apps, etc. Bringing older adults and high school students together made for a great story!

Tip 10. Have a crisis plan
If there’s any type of incident at your community, it’s really important to have a strategic plan with a designated team in place to execute it. Stay tuned for more about this in an upcoming blog post.

Tip 11: Get social
As traditional media continues to downsize, social media is going to be even more important in your overall communications strategy. It’s important to have a cohesive plan among all of your teams and communities.

Tip 12: Position yourself as an expert
Journalists are always looking for unique stories and fresh perspectives that include new data and research findings. Op Ed pieces, proprietary research and participation in polls are all effective ways to position your community as an expert.

Tip 13: Ask, will the audience care?
Put yourself in the reporter’s shoes. You may think something is really interesting, but not everything is newsworthy.

Tip 14: Take advantage of outside expertise
If you are struggling to uncover your story and tell that story in a meaningful way, then look to hire an agency with a PR strategist. They most likely will have existing relationships with the industry media as well as local market outlets that they can leverage on your behalf. They will be able to assist you with crafting key messaging, media training your spokespeople and pitching your stories to media outlets that matter most to your organization.

Tip 15: Have fun!
Telling your community’s story can be fun — whether you’re throwing an event or sharing a story about a resident who skydives. Incorporate these tips and you’ll be on your way to telling your unique story to the broader community.

Coming in a future Varsity blog: I will share my thoughts on crisis PR.

At the 2019 LeadingAge Tennessee Conference and EXPO, an entire audience of people sat together quietly, eyes closed, remembering how they felt on the first day of school.

After several minutes, the presenter had them open their eyes and share their feelings. Emotions ranged from fear and excitement to nervousness and anxiety.

Why did presenter Melissa Ward, PT, MS, RAC-CT, Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Functional Pathways, have the audience do this exercise? She wanted to evoke the emotions students and parents feel on the first day of school, which is very similar to the way residents and their loved ones may feel on their first day in a retirement community.

Trying to find your way around an unfamiliar place can be a tremendous adjustment, and the move can be just as stressful for families leaving their loved ones. But there are ways to help the transition go more smoothly, like the techniques described in this recent article in McKnight’s Senior Living. And now, new residents and their families have another powerful resource to draw on: a unique program developed by the Functional Pathways team.

According to Ward, the Transition Concierge Program began as a “what-if” idea about two years ago. “A client community was  struggling with having residents successfully age in place,” Ward said. “New residents came in and weren’t engaged in community life. They weren’t taking advantage of everything available on the campus. This issue was leading to increased risk for falls and residents requiring higher levels of care.”

That’s when the Functional Pathways Team, led by Beth Reigart, Clinical Outcomes Specialist, decided to create the new Transition Concierge Program. This collaborative approach brings together a powerful arsenal of tools, including social services, nursing, therapy, activities, wellness, resident programming, resident support groups, resources for the family, on-campus physician services and more. By making the transition smoother, the program helps residents successfully age in place.

How the Transition Concierge Program Works

When the resident moves in, a Navigation Team conducts in-depth standardized assessments. Then, an Interdisciplinary Team creates a plan of individualized support. Every element is geared toward giving the individual input into his or her own life.

Here are a couple of examples: If a resident has breathing problems, he or she may need a plan that addresses limitations in endurance to make it possible to get to the bistro. If a resident has low vision, apartment modifications or a plan to get and read mail may be needed. Every resident adjusts to resident living at a different rate, according to Ward. The program was designed to provide services and support that fit each individual’s unique needs.

More Than Just a Real Estate Transaction

The Functional Pathways team believes that moving into an independent living community should be “more than just a real estate transaction.” It’s fostering a true continuum of care through this innovative service.

New residents may still face those first-day-of-school jitters. Fortunately, this innovative collaboration helps ease the transition so they can find passion and purpose in their new environment.

How is your community helping resident transitions go more smoothly? Let me know at . I’d love to feature your strategies in an upcoming blog post.

 

In celebration of National Wellness Month in August, we’re talking to Becky Anhorn, fitness and wellness director at Meadowood Senior Living, a faith-based, single-site Life Plan Community in Worcester, Pennsylvania. Becky is legendary at Meadowood for her enthusiasm for wellness. She has a passion for helping every individual achieve the highest level of well-being possible.

Hi, Becky! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Can you tell us a little about your background?

In addition to my fitness and wellness training, I have a master’s in social work, and I’ve been a dancer all my life.

What’s your experience been like at Meadowood?

It’s been pretty amazing. I’ve built so much rapport with the staff and residents here. It’s a very welcoming, progressive and innovative environment. As far as ideas go, nothing’s really off the table.

How is the wellness program unique?

We’re always looking at new trends that are out there across the country and incorporating them. It’s a diverse age group, so some residents work 9 to 5 and are looking for evening programming, while some prefer to work out in the morning and have different interests outside of the community. It’s really taking a look at the population as a whole and programming accordingly.

Can you talk about your commitment to employee wellness?

We believe that, if we have healthy staff, then we have healthy residents. That’s why we offer five staff fitness classes a week and pop-up wellness events, from aerobics to meditation to a softball league and wellness walks. We feel that there should be fun in fitness! It’s a breakaway from the day-to-day of work — just taking an opportunity on a lunch break to head out on the fitness courtyard and play badminton, enjoy snacks, be with other people and step outside of our comfort zone.

How does Meadowood nurture all six dimensions of wellness?

We don’t just look at the physical piece, but at all of the components that contribute to well-being. We offer tai chi, yoga, brain health classes and a lot of specialty classes. Our 11 certified wellness team members come from very diverse backgrounds. We have personal trainers, a dementia specialist, two people with a social work background and a wellness coach who is also an author. All of us collaborate to offer expertise that covers all dimensions of wellness.

What has been the reaction to all of the wellness offerings?

Our participation rates have gone up exponentially in the past year. I think that is attributed to the fact that residents and staff have a lot of say in their wellness program.

What role does technology play in wellness?

It helps us keep track of the residents’ progress. It’s starting at a baseline, doing a fitness test, seeing their balance, coordination, mobility and fitness levels and tracking all that to navigate their individual wellness programs.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing people open themselves up to a different level of wellness than they thought possible. Residents come to me and say, “I took a stress test, and there were a lot of red flags for me. Then I started taking your classes, and I passed the stress test with flying colors. I know it has to do with the programming that you have here.” That makes me want to come into my job every day. It’s really the impact that I’m having on the residents and seeing that they’re living healthier, better lives.

For more wellness insights from Becky, watch the video below.

Even after three days in the steamy summer heat, my excitement about everything I learned at the LeadingAge Tennessee 2019 Annual Meeting & EXPO is just beginning to heat up. The theme was: “What if we helped people find passion and purpose?” The individuals I connected with at the show are doing that in amazing ways. They’re bringing generations together, leveraging strategies from other industries and approaching their challenges with a fresh perspective.

Without further ado, I’m excited to report back to you my top five “what-ifs” at the show:

1. What if we could integrate former foster youth into senior living communities?

While I was walking the floor, I spoke with Rosemary Ramsey, founder of The Victory Lap, an organization committed to matching youth, 18 to 21, who have aged out of the foster program, with open apartments at senior living communities. The community would be paid $900 per month (funded by the foster program in Tennessee) and would be asked to provide a job for the individual (at least 10 hours per week). The program is intended to give former foster kids a boost — with stable housing, employment opportunities and support from caring older adults — while meeting workforce challenges, filling otherwise vacant units and fostering intergenerational friendships. Look for an interview with Rosemary in a future blog post!

2. What if we could bring the principles of doula care to hospice?

A session on creating a doula program for hospice created some serious conference buzz. The program follows the principles of birthing doulas to help guide the individual and family/loved ones through the dying process.

3. What if we could find and retain top talent?

One of my favorite sessions, led by Matt Thornhill, stressed the need for transparency and inclusion when hiring. It was all about finding and retaining top talent. One example Matt referenced was the innovative 30/40 program by LifeSpire of Virginia in which certified nursing assistants are paid for 40 hours but are only required to work 30.

4. What if new residents could feel at home more easily?

I heard several people talking about a unique continuum concierge program discussed by Melissa Ward, vice president of clinical & regulatory affairs at Functional Pathways. The program promotes successful transitions and helps people stay in their current levels of care. Its tools include new resident orientations, resident-driven support groups, physician services, collaboration across the care continuum and more. Stay tuned for a future blog post about this innovative program.

5. What if we looked beyond a prospect’s age and income?

Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our session with co-presenter Robbie Voloshin of United Methodist Communities (UMC). Robbie celebrated her birthday that day! The talk covered an in-depth research study on which we had partnered with UMC. In short, the study shows how going beyond superficial demographics to interests and values can help organizations connect more deeply with the right prospects. Discussion centered around the core aspects of the study — the values statements and how they were ranked.

Have you had any what-if moments of your own? If so, drop me an email at . I’d love to hear about them.

Once in awhile at Varsity, we view current entertainment through the filter of aging services marketing. This past weekend, I binged out on “The Kominsky Method,” a trending Netflix series starring Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky, a former Hollywood A-lister turned acting coach, and Alan Arkin as Sandy’s longtime agent and best friend Norman Newlander. Produced by sitcom sultan Chuck Lorre (“Two and a Half Men”), the show also features a star-studded cast, including regulars Danny DeVito, Nancy Travis and Lisa Edelstein, with guest appearances by Jay Leno, Ann-Margret and Patti Labelle.

The eight episodes I watched dealt with death, drug addiction, ageism and cancer and still managed to be laugh-out-loud funny — at least I thought so.

One reviewer wasn’t so enamored of the show. He thought the jokes were tired and that there was too much focus on peeing habits. Sandy’s need for frequent urination, including watering the hedge in his date’s yard, dominates more than one episode.

The reviewer makes a valid point, although for me, the humor somehow works. The portrait of Michael Douglas’ character with an enlarged prostate is a refreshing contrast to the usual list of invincible aging male stars jumping from planes in action movies.

One mystery the show did clear up for me is why some men I know frequently pee in hedges and bushes, as well as behind large trucks in parking lots. I always thought it was a macho need to “mark your territory,” but it turns out that it’s just a male health condition that worsens with age.

During the hedge scene, I picked up the phone and called my Uncle Tony (who has been dealing with a slow-growing prostate cancer) and asked him to tune in and give his opinion. He binged through all eight episodes. My uncle’s favorite part? Sandy and his lack of steady flow had him laughing out loud.

Beyond the humor, Uncle Tony explained, it was great to see an important subject being given prominent attention. In a lighthearted way, the show drives home the point that even famous people aren’t immune to this health issue, which impacts 50 percent of men over 50 and 90 percent of men over 80 and can be associated with prostate cancer. Every time the great Sandy Kominsky makes another trip to the bathroom, it underscores the need for diagnosis and treatment of prostate conditions. Sandy’s reluctant visit to his urologist is funny, of course (imagine a white-coated Danny DeVito wielding the power of a rubber glove), but a more serious message clearly comes through: If you’re having symptoms, get checked.

Other serious themes are also cloaked in humor, including the ever-prevalent issue of ageism. One example: Norman’s assistant comments that it’s great for him to be back at his job running a talent agency after his wife’s death, comparing him to her grandpa, who keeps his mind active by doing the daily crossword.

In spite of the stereotypical perceptions of those around them, the older characters forge ahead as contributing, working members of society — even if they’re sometimes reduced from their former glory. (For instance, Elliott Gould, in a hilarious guest turn as an erstwhile movie icon, accepts a cheesy commercial hawking reverse mortgages.)

Whether you find the humor funny or not, “The Kominsky Method” definitely takes on some important issues. Is a season two renewal in its future? Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can learn more about prostate cancer detection and treatment by visiting the Prostate Cancer Foundation.