Health visitor talking to a senior woman during home visit
(Credit: PIKSEL / Getty Images)

Senior living providers named participants in the federal government’s new dementia care pilot program said they are excited to be part of a new effort to support people living with dementia and their family caregivers.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, CMMI, announced the Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience, or GUIDE, model last summer. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched the eight-year GUIDE model on July 1 and published the program participant list on Monday.

Eligible model participants are Medicare Part B-enrolled providers eligible to bill for Medicare services and that provide, or will provide, ongoing care to people living with dementia. Eligible organizations include accountable care organizations, home health and hospice agencies, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and physician practices.

Additional long-term care providers and other healthcare providers, however, can participate as partner organizations by contract with another Medicare provider/supplier to meet the program care delivery requirements. Assisted living residents who are Medicare beneficiaries may be part of the model. 

Of the GUIDE participants, 96 started the model on July 1, with the remaining 294 formally launching their programs July 1, 2025. 

Senior living a ‘beachhead’ opportunity for GUIDE

Lifespark, a Minnesota-based senior health company that owns and operates 40 senior living communities, along with businesses in home health, hospice, institutional pharmacy and medical practice, said it looks at the GUIDE model as a way to connect people to resources.

Lifespark Chief Operating Officer Matt Kinne told McKnight’s Senior Living that he views senior living as the “beachhead” opportunity to get into GUIDE, ultimately expanding it to support people no matter where they live.

“GUIDE, for us, the way we view it, it gives our team and the constituents we do serve more opportunity to get connected to community resources to support folks in new, unique ways,” Kinne said. “Our mission is to really deconstruct the sick care system that doesn’t serve frail elders well.”

He called GUIDE another component that provides more “arrows in the quiver” to support families and clients, providing an extension of value where home health and hospice episodes end and gaps occur.

Lifespark, which will launch its GUIDE program next summer, said it will take the lessons learned from implementing GUIDE with its senior living residents to serve additional people who are Medicare Advantage enrollees living with dementia.

“Our opportunity is not only to have support groups and provide support for families and people living with dementia in the community, but to expand our offers out to the broader community,” Kinne said, adding that the company already has begun to coalesce several community-based organizations into partnerships based on the model. 

The GUIDE model, he added, could provide an opportunity for organizations like Lifespark to help nonprofit community service organizations that are losing federal funding post-COVID. Partnering through the GUIDE model, Kinne said, not only provides opportunities for their clients, but also provides a revenue source.

Referring to its senior living communities as “castles,” Kenne said that Lifespark intends to leverage those castles and turn them into a kingdom to “do more for the greater good of humanity and the broader community we are serving in.”

Knute Nelson | Walker Methodist said the initiative is a “significant step forward” in its mission to enrich, empower and elevate people through their life’s journey.

“This initiative will enable us to enhance our care coordination, deliver comprehensive support services and ultimately improve the quality of life for those we serve,” KNWM Vice President of Population Health said in a statement. “We are committed to leading innovative approaches in dementia care and ensuring our clients and their families receive the compassionate care they deserve.”

HumanGood Senior Vice President of Healthcare Services Phil Chuang told McKnight’s Senior Living that the organization is “excited” to participate in the GUIDE program and intends to launch its program next July in its Southern California and Pennsylvania continuing care retirement / life plan communities and affordable senior housing communities. Eventually, he added, the program will be rolled out to older adults living near HumanGood communities.

Comprehensive care coordination to be offered

Approximately 6.7 million Americans live with Alzhiemer’s disease or other forms of dementia, a number expected to grow by nearly 14 million by 2060, according to CMS. To address the unique needs of this population, the GUIDE model aims to improve quality of life for people living with dementia, reduce caregiver burdens, and reduce federal spending on hospitalizations and post-acute care by preventing or delaying moves to long-term nursing homes.

The model aims to expand access to dementia care services by expanding the care delivery capabilities of various provider types across care settings. The goal is to encourage practitioners to coordinate care across clinical and community-based settings to help people remain where they live for as long as appropriate.

Participants will offer a comprehensive package of care coordination and management, caregiver education and support, and respite services.