Carol Silver Elliott speaking
Incoming LeadingAge Board Chair Carol Silver Elliott delivers remarks
during Tuesday’s general session.

SAN DIEGO — Fighting ageism and shifting the mindset about aging among the general public are two of the goals Carol Silver Elliott outlined for LeadingAge members as she was introduced Tuesday as the incoming chair of the organization’s board of directors.

Elliott, who is president and CEO of the Jewish Home Family, Rockleigh, NJ, will begin her term in January.

The general public’s current mindset about aging, she told those attending a general session at the LeadingAge annual meeting, is that aging is a healthcare issue rather than a societal issue.

“The former doesn’t consider the lives people have lived, the families they have raised, the contributions not only they have made but can continue to make,” Elliott said. “It categorizes people with normal age-related conditions as problems to be solved or fixed. It describes a one-size-fits-all approach to aging when we all know that it is far more complex.”

LeadingAge members, she said, must work to provide “positive examples of how we care for our elders and to remind people that aging is part of all of our journeys. Then perhaps we can reframe the way people think about aging, and along with it, improve the policies and regulations impacting our work.”

Elliott also implored members to fight ageism “by calling it when we see it, in ourselves and others, by thinking about the way we treat older adults, including the way we interact and the language we use.”

Otherwise, she said, ageism stands to cloud the public’s view of what aging services providers do, inhibit staff recruitment, negatively influence philanthropy, lead to “onerous” public policies, and “[cause] the millions of victims of elder abuse in this country to be ignored and abandoned to their faith.”

Also Tuesday:

  • LeadingAge presented two awards. Jamey Walker, RN, director of nursing and clinical informatics nurse at Lutheran Life Villages at Kendalville, Kendalville, IN, received the Joan Anne McHugh Award for Leadership in Long-Term Services and Supports Nursing. Michael Klein and Gabriel Sanders of Kavod Senior Life, Denver, received the RWJF Award for Health Equity Presented by LeadingAge.
  • Officers announced for the 2020 LeadingAge Board of Directors included Stephen Fleming, president and CEO of the WellSpring Group, Greensboro, NC, immediate past chair; Christie Hinrichs, president and CEO of Tabitha Health Care Services, Lincoln, NE, secretary; and Mike Rambarose, president and CEO of Whitney Center, Hamden, CT, treasurer.
  • Todd Murch, president and CEO of Eskaton, Carmichael, CA, will join the board, it was announced.
  • Three board members will complete their terms and leave the board at the end of the year: Roberta Jacobsen, president of Front Porch, Glendale, CA; Kathryn Roberts, CEO emeritus, Ecumen, Shoreview, MN; and Roberto Muniz, president and CEO of Parker Health Group, Piscataway, NJ.

The meeting continues through Wednesday.