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Promising Practices

Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging is committed to recognizing organizations that strive to serve older adults in original and exciting ways with our Promising Practices Award. This award highlights organizations working with older adults in a variety of settings that are moving away from conventional practices by developing and implementing innovative approaches.

Eligible programs for this award include those that introduce new and exciting practices in serving older adults as well as those that provide unique improvements and advances in existing services.

Sharing promising practices across locations benefits the senior living industry as a whole. The goal of this initiative is to learn what is working and how it is working from those who have experienced success.

The 2016 Call for Entries has been closed. 
Promising Practice Award winners will be announced in early 2017.

For more information, e-mail Roscoe Nicholson at rnicholson@matherlifeways.com or call (847) 492.6790.

2015 Promising Practices Winners

Below are brief descriptions of the four innovative programs, startups, and collaborations that earned Promising Practices Awards in 2015. To learn more about them, and get to tips for how to adopt them yourself, download a free copy of Innovation at Work 2015: Promising Practices Winners That Are Reshaping the Aging Services Industry.

 A Plus Health Care in Kallispell, Montana, for implementing a program for its home care clients that gives them regular access to the outdoors, socializing, and a sense of purpose. The organization’s LifeSide Farms program brings homebound older adults and developmentally disabled youth to area farms, where they can participate in light chores, enjoy a healthy group lunch, and socialize with farmers and each other. Based on a program in the Netherlands, LifeSide Farms encourages healthy physical and social activities and imparts a sense of purpose to participants, improving health, quality of life, and community inclusion.

Westhills Village Retirement Community, a Life Plan Community in Rapid City, South Dakota, offers independent living residents the opportunity to ride bicycles again, thanks to a new program involving balance-enhancing no-pedal bikes. Older adults who have balance problems, as well as those who never learned to ride a bike, are now wheeling around the community on special bikes designed for people with balance issues. Residents enjoy the activity, and biannual fitness surveys showed major improvements in balance for some who participated in the no program.

Honorable Mentions

Benevilla, a nonprofit social services agency in Surprise, Arizona, found a single solution for providing higher quality products to community members who used their day center; to meeting demand for an inviting community gathering space; and for offering Group Supported Employment (GSE) to intellectually and developmentally disabled adults.  That solution: Birt’s Bistro, adapted from the Café Plus concept. Birt’s Bistro is set up as a for-profit Social Enterprise Bistro, providing Benevilla with unique opportunities. The model is able to support the organization’s mission and address the challenges, but without basing decisions primarily on financial considerations as a traditional for-profit business does.

Casa Dorinda, a nonprofit Life Plan Community in Montecito, California, has successfully blurred traditional divisions between independent living, assisted living, and other care levels. In an effort to make the campus more inclusive, they regularly bring together residents in all levels of care to participate in activities together. This has established more cohesive programming that has brought residents together with each other and with staff, creating stronger social bonds campus-wide, and in all care levels. Now, independent living residents who move to a different level of care know they will still see their current friends during these activities. This helps alleviate some of the fear of changing care levels.

You can also read about previous Promising Practices by downloading Innovation at Work: 2014 Promising Practices Winners That Are Reshaping the Aging Services Industry.