JHF Gives Leading Presentation on Senior Health Care of the Future at AJAS Conference

Innovators such as Amazon and Uber have disrupted the retail and transportation industries, and health care is not far Behind. With more than 72 million Baby Boomers in the United States driving consumer trends, these companies have set their sights on redesigning senior services.

Smart companies and agencies – including those that traditionally have served older adults, and those who have not – are recognizing the need to embrace consumer demands for faster, simpler, high-quality solutions.

"We cannot afford to take for granted the needs and demands of seniors," said Jewish Healthcare Foundation CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein on August 21. "Commercial players enabled by new technologies are creating new models of care in new spaces with a new workforce. They understand consumer preferences for one-stop shopping and comprehensive service approaches."

Feinstein was the lead presenter at the regional conference of the Association of Jewish Aging Services, which promotes and supports the delivery of services to an aging population. Its membership is comprised of more than 95 organizations with Jewish-sponsored nursing homes, housing communities, and outreach programs across North America. The Jewish Association on Aging (JAA), which operates residences and services in Pittsburgh, hosted the conference at its facilities near Summerset along the Monongahela River.

Feinstein stressed many of the themes that will be a part of JHF's Liftoff PGH conference in September 2020. Like their younger counterparts, seniors use smartphone apps to monitor their vital signs. Even more important for them, however, are spaces that are transforming themselves into centers of information and engagement: pharmacies, health clubs, libraries, and community centers.

Interdependence with others can be as important as independence, Feinstein said, as loneliness and depression are increasingly recognized as problems for isolated older adults. Beginning to take hold is the "senior village" concept, which combines an array of care levels in campus-like settings with wide lifestyle choices and interaction with people of all ages. Ideally, residences can be adapted around the consumer in response to changing health conditions and needs.

More than 200 such villages are operating in 45 states, with at least 150 more in development. Included among local models are Presbyterian SeniorCare in Oakmont, and Providence Point in Scott Township.

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