The Future ‘Health’ of Aging: Building A Better Way to Age

Connect. Think big. Take action. It’s what the Sage conference, hosted by Honor, is all about. And Lifesprk executives – Joel Theisen, BSN, CEO and Dr. Bill Thomas, Medical Director, will be front and center bringing their visionary thinking to the big stage setting the tone for inspiring conversations on the future ‘health’ of aging to those in attendance. As moderator and keynote speaker respectively, both Joel and Bill will engage leaders and innovators who are home care agency owners, hospital administrators, care managers, geriatricians, and entrepreneurs to think differently. And hopefully, take action.

As we think about healthcare and the aging experience, surgeon and best-selling author Atul Gawande summed it up best years ago when he said: “We have medicalized aging and that experiment is failing us.” Despite our best efforts to build better ways to age, if we remain in ‘siloes of excellence’ has anything changed? So, what can seniors and we as healthcare professionals do to change that experience? Joel has been very vocal about his vision for changing the ‘sick care’ system to a true ‘health care’ system focused on wellness and independence. He’s been rallying partners, clients, employees, visionaries, thought-leaders, health systems, payors and more over the past 25+ years asking them to connect, think big, and take action because ‘isolation is fatal,’ we have to break down those siloes to seek the change needed.

Changing How We View and Discuss Aging

Read through any article in Dr. Bill Thomas’s ChangingAging blog and you will see common themes of culture change, ending ageism, rethinking aging, preparing for a new way to age, and the end of silencing those with dementia. Bill is a visionary who sees the world much like Joel, that a better life experience awaits, for every age. It’s why he was chosen to open the SAGE 2019 conference as the keynote speaker, along with Yoky Matsuoko, Ph.D., Vice President at Google, and Seth Sternberg, Co-Founder and CEO at Honor – Bill’s thoughts and vision for change are always provocative.

When Honor executives reached out to Joel after hearing him speak at the Hi2 conference about moderating Honor’s first annual Home Care Conference, SAGE 2019, he said, ‘Count me in – I believe these opportunities are critical to network with the boldest and brightest to change the world.’

As Joel moderates a discussion with some of those bold and bright leaders on ‘Better Care Integration and Outcomes’ with panelists Dr. Christine Cassel, Presidential Chair & Visiting Professor, UCSF School of Medicine, Felipe Orsono, Executive Administrator, Care Continuum & Value Improvement, Keck Medicine at USC and Shirley Otis-Green, Founder, Collaborative Caring (Palliative Care) he will ask the questions that seek to answer how we will build better ways to age – what innovations and solutions are needed? What is the future ‘health’ of aging?

Where Will the Conversation Lead?

Perhaps some of the conversation will be around the coveted triple aim, even quadruple objectives. Joel shared in a recent Disrupt Podcast that to think bigger and create the change needed we need to combine more like-minded leaders to break through the ‘accepted norms’ of what the ‘sick care’ system produces. “It’s triple miss vs triple aim in my opinion,” said Joel. It’s not a success if we can’t provide value – if we are advocating for better care integration, outcomes must be part of the discussion. Value based payment structures will depend on providers proving the efficacy of their models. How can you reward value and take on risk without knowing it will work?”

But the conversation may steer towards ‘care’ and whether or not that language belongs in a client’s ecosystem. “People don’t want care, they want wellness and independence. It’s time we start building a future that addresses what seniors want and what our health systems need,” added Joel. Perhaps that’s where the panel conversation will lead. In any event, it will be thought-provoking.

What do you think is needed to build a better way to age? Share On!