Conversations with Ginny
"The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us." - -Terry Marshall
My parents made the holidays exciting for my two brothers, sister and me when we were growing up and I hope your parents did the same for you. Now, you all are making the holidays special for the older adults you serve and I bet there will be festivities throughout the month. Thank you for all you are doing!
Speaking of festivities, it was a joy to see LeadingAge Georgia members be recognized for their contributions in our field. In case you missed it, the Caring Heart Award went to Regine Vincent of Canterbury Court, the Distinguished Service Award went to Karon Winston of Lutheran Towers, the Innovation Award went to Alliant Health Solutions, the Volunteer of the Year Award went to Kenwal "Ken" Raheja of St. George Village and the Award of Honor went to Deke Cateau of A.G. Rhodes. LeadingAge Georgia staff presented the Allison Cuba Champion Award to Liana Sisco of Lutheran Towers.
It was also a joy to see twenty-three LeadingAge members graduate from the Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy. Thank you to each member who completed the program, to the supervisors who allowed it and to our member mentors who shared insights on leadership and their journeys including Andy Landrum, Deke Cateau, Traci Montgomery and Karon Winston. A huge thank you also to Alliant Health Solutions for funding to support the program and to our host sites of Canterbury Court, King's Bridge Retirement Center, Clairmont Oaks, Mauldin & Jenkins and Campbell Stone Buckhead! See the section on the Leadership Academy for the list of graduates.
We're hoping you like the work that the LeadingAge Georgia and the Georgia Institute on Aging boards and staff did to develop the new 2020-2023 Strategic Plan. We hope you engage to help carry it out and you contact us if there is something we missed that you think is important!
Thank you to everyone who helped us have a great Annual Business Meeting! Thank you to Lenbrook for such a wonderful and festive setting for our meeting! Thank you also to Morrison Living for such delicious meals. It was such a treat!
A big thank you to everyone who supported Profiles of Positive Aging and helped us honor fifteen individuals whose lives are full of purpose and meaning and are thriving in your communities! We had a great event! See article on Profiles for more details.
We expect another big expose on assisted living to come out before the legislative session starts in January. We're told it will focus on oversight. We will be sending in a letter to the editor and are convening a work group to respond to some proposed legislation. Speaking of legislation, we received a letter from Representative John Lewis telling us about his efforts to fortify affordable housing. See article about his efforts.
Registration will open soon for our conference but in the meantime please mark your calendar. It will be March 23-25 in Greenville.
Finally, thank you to all of our members for your wonderful work and your commitment to LeadingAge Georgia!
Profiles of Positive Aging – A Recap of Individuals Honored
On November 10th we honored 15 individuals who are profiles of positive aging. These individuals led full lives with thriving careers and now they thrive with purpose filled lives in LeadingAge Georgia member communities. Here's a snapshot of the individuals we honored.
Christine Hood, who at 100 years of age inspires others with her strong faith and her message to instill positive values including "love begins at home." Christine now lives at A.G. Rhodes of Atlanta.
Andy Isakson (Senator Johnny Isakson's brother), whose commitment to family inspired him to develop a life plan community with a great person-centered care program. The program called "the Dementia Care Matters Butterfly Home" is a nationally recognized program that focuses on an environment that offers feelings focused; emotion based care that awakens the inner happiness of every individual in the household. Andy believes in the quality of life in the Isakson life plan communities so much that he has moved into the new Peachtree Hills community!
Elliott Wright, whose career as an author and editor of religious news and history continues even after moving into a retirement community. He says "the hopes and uncertainties that go along with aging are part of the endless search for life's meaning." Elliott lives fully at his home in Wesley Woods Towers.
Gil Thelen, had an incredibly distinguished career as a journalist and directing staff of newspapers where he adapted to external challenges and change. Now, living with Parkinson's, Gill is teaching others how to live their best and says "Parkinson's has helped me clear the junk out in my mental attic. I live more openly and transparently. I am 'there' for people in my daily life." Gil now lives his best at Carlyle Place life plan community.
Jeanette Davenport recognizes the importance of helping people and even after moving into retirement housing cooks and serves the homeless and those in shelters. Her home base is Asbury Epworth Towers.
Merle Houston, a retired teacher and librarian encourages others that life is worth living and to be positive. She says "You can love life or you can hate it, but it's mostly up to you." Merle calls A.G. Rhodes of Cobb home.
Lana Allibone is a great example of embracing the things that have always brought joy. Lana now resides in A.G. Rhodes at Wesley Woods, where you can find her dancing!
Margaret Geraldine Pizzolato's motto of Live. Love. Laugh. is alive as she looks after the retired priests where she lives at St. George Village and hosts cocktail parties and dinners in her apartment.
Joyce Stevens, who has a prestigious background in Georgia politics and has made significant contributions to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, is still a force in state politics while being a resident at Lenbrook. She remains active on issues she's passionate about and she serves as a mentor to give back and pay it forward.
Paul Cadenhead, a successful litigator who has been a role model for lawyers brings that same enthusiasm for life and serving others by serving on community councils where he lives at Presbyterian Village.
Rebecca Cline-Cole celebrated her 80th birthday by launching a non-profit organization serving those in her home country of Sierra Leone. Rebecca lives at Decatur Christian Towers.
William "Mike" Nelson, a resident at Philips Tower spent 50 years as a flight instructor, teaching others how to properly navigate the friendly skies. He has a true passion of caring for others and always willing to lend a helping hand. Mike insist, "Don't ever criticize anybody until you've walked a mile in their shoes."
Rudolph Parks recommitted his life to Christ and became a Deacon in his church. He makes weekly visits to a disabled neighbor in his community, offering a helping hand in any way he can. Rudolph was raised by his mother, and on mother's day 2019, he bought and prepared lunch for all the women in his community at Alice Williams Towers.
Vera Sepe, a resident from Cathedral Towers, exemplifies what positive aging represents for someone dealing with mental illness. Vera has dealt with this disease her entire life, but demonstrated how hard work and determination can guide us in conquering anything we strive to achieve. She is thriving each day and supporting others in their efforts to deal with mental illness and live a fulfilling life. Vera says, "It si very easy to give up hope in mental illness because it doesn't go away. I feel that one of the most important things in trying is will-power; you have to have the desire to change things."
Gil Thelen spent his career creating an atmosphere to inspire a generation of journalists to strive for excellence. A teacher at heart, Gil changed the climate of every news organization he joined. He recognized early on that to connect with readers in a changing culture, the newsroom must embrace the internet to remain viable. By the mid-1990's, he was known in the field as "the change guy." In 2014, Gil was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As a result of this diagnosis, Gil is utilizing his education, clinical and media knowledge to create more exposure and education for others regarding Parkinson's With his wife, Gil co-authored Counter Punch: Duking it Out with Parkinson's. Gil is a resident at Carlyle Place in Macon, GA.
Robert Kenneth West, from Lutheran Towers, demonstrated his talents as a well-recognized artists. Growing up, Robert lived in various parts of the country and world due to his father's service in the Air Force. While growing up in England, Robert became fascinated with trains. His first painting, "The Champion," was of his grandfather's train. Robert's work became recognized throughout international railroad periodicals. Beginning in 1989, Robert was approached by GE Transportation System, Inc., giving him the opportunity to become their world-wide company illustrator. To this day, Robert is the first and only black person in history to hold this position with GE. In addition, he is the only professionally recognized black train artist in the world and can be seen as a regular at trade shows and railroad conventions. There are only 21 professionally recognized full-time railroad artists in the world. Robert's works has been featured in documentaries on CNN, PBS and FOX5.
Thank you to all LeadingAge members who took the time to nominate these individuals!
Click HERE to view all photos.
This year we had two LeadingAge Georgia board vacancies due to Tom Rockebach and James Wells moving out of state. The board elected to name Mark Lowell to fill Tom's place on the board for the class of 2021. Maria Manahan, CEO of Campbell-Stone Retirement Living joined the LeadingAge Georgia Board for the class of 2022 and Dorothy Davis of Visiting Nurse Health System, Eve Anthony of Athens Community Council on Aging and Chris Keysor of Lenbrook were re-elected to the board for the class of 2022.
Georgia Institute of Aging
Former Georgia Institute of Aging board chair Connie White of the Atlanta Regional Commission and board member George Tucker of Campbell-Stone North rotated off of the board after serving the maximum number of years allowed per our by-laws. We have three new board members including Tim Knight of Park Springs, Julie Parker Canterbury Court and Laura Rice of Briarcliff Oaks. They will serve in the class of 2022 along with Pat Coppin of Alice Williams Towers who was re-elected to the board.
Public Policy Update
Representative John Lewis sent a letter to us after we reached out to him for his support of funding for affordable housing. Here's what he said:
Thank you for contacting me about the ongoing housing crisis in our nation. The lack of affordable or accessible housing in the United States is a profound issue.
I have long supported programs to make housing more affordable and accessible. Earlier this year, I requested full funding for programs such as Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, Supportive Housing for the Elderly, and Tenant and Project-Based Rental Assistance. In total, this level of funding would increase support for these programs by more than $600 million. Such an increase is critical for providing safe, decent, and affordable housing for the lowest income households, including families with children, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
I also requested five billion dollars for the Public Housing Capital Fund, which would cover maintenance of our public housing and address the backlog of needed repairs. With nearly 11 million American households to pay unaffordable rent levels and proposals from the White House to increase rents and impose work requirements, we must do all we can to help people through these difficult times.
As Congress works towards a final funding bill for these programs, I will keep your views in mind and continue to advocate for the highest level of congressional support for these initiatives. Please feel free to visit my website or sign up for my e-newsletter to learn more and stay informed about issues facing the Fifth Congressional District and our country.
We will follow up on this important issue.
The legislative session will start up in mid-January and go for 40 working days with breaks as called by the legislature. We are already working on our issues including seeking funding for behavioral health coaches in HUD communities. We are currently working to identify champions within the legislature.
We are also continuing to work with Representatives John LaHood and Jesse Petrea on innovative options for affordable housing for older adults. To date the hearings have covered a multitude of options. It is too early to know what directions the committee will choose to go in in terms of legislation.
We expect Representative Sharon Cooper, chair of the Health and Human Services committee to have an "omnibus bill" as she termed it to improve the quality of care in assisted living communities. We expect her solutions to include funding to beef up the staff of surveyors so that there is closer scrutiny of care in both personal care homes and assisted living homes. We expect advocates to have a push for higher staffing ratios, particularly at night. We expect a push for a system that allows the public to have better access to survey results in a timely manner. We think there will also be a push for higher fines and sanctions where Category 1 violations have caused death, serious harm or threat of such. Public Policy chair Terry Barcroft is working closely with staff and our members on what our responses will be to ensure appropriate representation of our members.
Celebrating Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy Graduates
This year twenty-three LeadingAge members graduated from the Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy. We celebrate their hard-work, dedication and personal growth. We also thank the supervisors who allowed them to attend and hope you feel good about the personal development you fostered. Here are the names of the individuals who graduated this year.
Caroline Auger-Akers, St. George Village
Michelle Brown, St. George Village
Terri Campbell, Cathedral Towers
Shuntavia Carr, Canterbury Court
Tara Graves, Lenbrook
Cheryl Hood, Hightower Manor High Rise
Tameka Jackson, Carlyle Place
Sarial Jaffar, Decatur Christian Towers
Michael Johnson, Briarcliff Oaks
Edde Johnson, King's Bridge Retirement Community
Shondrella Little, Lenbrook
Anne Mancini, Peachtree Christian Health
Natasha Nunnally, Baptist Gardens/Baptist Towers
Anita Polk, A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab Cobb
Rick Rando, Lenbrook
Rodean Rhule, Canterbury Court
Anita Scott, Alice Williams Apartments
Kennyetta Smith, Carlyle Place
Lashondra Thornton, A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab Atlanta
Reggie Traylor, Lenbrook
Antonious Ward, Asbury Harris Epworth Towers
Chad Whitehead, Lanier Village Estates
Upcoming Education Programs
Save the date for the following upcoming education programs being offered by LeadingAge Georgia. Location and agenda will be coming soon.
Feb. 4 Maintenance Professionals Symposium
Feb. 11 Activity Professionals/GAAP Symposium
Feb. 21 Service Coordinators Forum
Feb. 25 Elderly Housing Symposium
March 5 Assisted Living Symposium
March 23-25-LeadingAge GA/SC Annual Conference, Greenville, SC
Did you know, as a member of LeadingAge Georgia, you have access to a variety of additional education resources through LeadingAge National Learning HUB. Some of these educational sessions available include:
-How to take advantage of HUD's RAD for PRAC
-Implementing Firearms and other Weapons Policies
-What to do about Bed Bugs
-Safe Care for Seniors
With almost 100 online education sessions available, this is a great resource for our provider members. Follow the link below and see what educational sessions you may find beneficial on the LeadingAge Learning HUB.