Aging in Place Influencers for 2016 (prt1)

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
~Albert Schweitzer

Aging in Place Influencers (Part 1)

At year’s end I have begun to tabulate a list of individuals who have made a difference in my thinking, or have advanced the cause of aging in place. I feel it’s important to share their names and acknowledge the work they accomplished. These are contributors who may not make on the radar of large nationally known organizations covering aging, but the dedication and contribution deserves our attention.

In that spirit, I wish to thank them for influencing me and for being part of the solution. Just know, the work you do matters and our experience of growing older is enhanced by your efforts…All the Best for 2017!


Aging in Place Influencers for 2016

~Chris Downey

It took the loss of sight to get better vision.”

Chris is an Architect, planner, and consultant, he Works with design teams and clients as he draws on his unique perspective as a seasoned architect without sight. He is helping to create environments that offer not only greater physical accessibility, but also a dimension of delight in architecture experienced through other senses.

Chris spoke to the importance of Empathetic Design and I had the pleasure this year, and may I say the “delight” to hear him as a Key Note Speaker for the Environments for Aging Conference in Austin, Texas. Chris had an opening question for the audience of predominately architects and designers that went something like this: How many of you have invested a day negotiating your environments in a wheelchair? In a ballroom sized space, a few tentative hands pierced the horizontal plane to acknowledge that they had indeed had that experience. In a room filled with bow-tie clad architects and splendidly dressed designers, the vast majority have never been in a wheelchair—remember, this was a conference on ENVIRONMENTS FOR AGING DESIGN and best practices around the world! Needless to say, he opened my eyes…

Chris on TED

~Ryan Frederick

A vision of developing residential communities that serve as the centerpiece of well-being.

Ryan is working to improve the quality of lives for older adults in a unique way. He is the Founder & CEO of Smart Living 360, a real estate development and operating company focused on delivering innovative living experiences with a particular emphasis on well-being. Ryan begins his story with moving into a senior community himself; to again develop Empathy for retirement living.

In his decade in the field, he has served as an executive for several of the largest Seniors Housing operators in the country, as a principal for a private equity firm with substantial investments in the industry and as a founder of a strategy and innovation practice that has worked with clients ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to standalone not-for-profit communities.  He is a frequent speaker and his writings have been circulated widely in the industry.

In person, Ryan is as charming and real as his video lets on. His commitment to make aging a better experience for all is palpable. I for one, am delighted he’s working in the cause of aging in place with options. His target is isolation and benefiting from connection via mindful design.

NIC Talks

~John Williams

“I can Fly!”

John is a world traveler, a media personality, and award winning documentary producer. I heard John on the radio for many years living in Portland, Oregon and had no idea he did his morning shows “from a chair.” Only this past year did I find this out when I got the pleasure to meet him in person. He suffered polio as a child and he too, knows first-hand that the mobility challenged community is under-served in the area of awareness, and marketing messaging, that speaks directly to their unique needs and concerns.

His mission is to open the great outdoors to those with handicaps by developing an award wining video series titled: “Know Before You Go” adventure destinations that are wheelchair accessible.

John is fearless, and his work takes him to some of the most beautiful destinations on earth–and often gets him into jams that are part funny, part scary, and part messaging: Life is to be lived and there is an up-side to risk. To me, John has extended the boundaries of aging in place beyond the built environment into the great out doors.

See John Fly 





~Ramiah Ramasubramanian

“We live in a golden age of human achievement and individual empowerment. Living an exemplary life in this age is certainly possible if we are guided by a framework of spirituality built on timeless ethical and moral values.”

“Rama” is one of my closest friends and confidants. His influence on me is weekly, in writings and sharing of IDEAS that matter. A seeking intellect, he continues to push the boundaries of possible exemplary living and aging. A contributing writer to Aging in Place The IDEAS Series, he shares his earned insights (MD, FRCA and a practicing board certified anesthesiologist with a fellowship in surgical critical care) on life and death.

Aging in place takes systems thinking beyond merely the built environment; contributions such as Rama’s to the concept of “successful aging” make growing older a richer experience–and increases the odds of remaining home by choice.

Aging in Place The IDEA Series: Essentialism and Living an Exemplary Life

~Amy McLellan

“I’ve had this dream for a long time.”

This Critical Care RN took a big risk and went out on a limb to renovate a nursing home and transform it into an aging-in-place home for retirement-age people called The McLellan on Cumberland Street in Brunswick.

Taking one step at a time, she found the old Skolfield House nursing home, and settled on a plan to provide housing for independent older Mainers, with supportive nursing assistance available as needed. She was attracted to the walkable intown location, close to shopping, services and amenities, unlike many assisted living projects that are located in more remote areas. She took several months to update her business plan, working with CEI, a business-development organization headquartered in Brunswick.

Amy is the kind of can-do individual who has a dream of making other’s lives better through designing a home-Like setting near amenities that support aging in place. She has inspired me with her story and I excited to she what other projects are in her sights.

For more on Amy see: This nurse is building senior housing in her Brunswick neighborhood

~Dr Lisa Price

“We’ve redefined aging.”

Dr Price is the Chief Medical Officer at InnovAge. She is fascinated with learning about her patients and how they define successful aging. Her grandfather, who was running road races at the age of 88, was her inspiration to pursue a career caring for seniors. She provides leadership for the medical operations of all InnovAge PACE Centers. InnovAge is a comprehensive approach to affordable in-home senior care, healthcare programs, memory loss programs and adult day services which lets older adults live on their terms. I love what they do and hope this model spreads to other parts of the country.

See InnovAge

~Igor Lebovic

“Kindly Care streamlines home care hiring.”

Igor is currently co-founder and CEO at Kindly Care; he’s a young, smart, tech-savvy entrepreneur who has embraced the concept: IF YOU WANT A BIG OPPORTUNITY–FIND A BIG PROBLEM. He knows the trend, the issues, and how to serve this TITANIC market of caregiving. I first heard Igor on a business radio program and what impressed me the most was 1) his own experience with dis-ease 2) his grasp of the issues with caregiving 3) his gratefulness for the opportunity to live in America and profit from his own efforts–while serving others.

Igor has had prior success in business and now is targeting yet another growing need–in home caregiving. It’s so encouraging to me to know that new talent is entering the aging-in-place market with fresh ideas and energy. Keep an eye on Kindlycare and this fellow…He’s the real deal, and helping to make aging a better experience.

Listen to Igor on Health Business Group Podcast

See KindlyCare

The challenges that an aging population presents can be viewed as a problem or an opportunity. These people have chosen to get busy and work towards solutions. Each of these Influencers is building something special in their own unique way. They will help make a legacy of aging well possible for all of us in the years to come…

I look forward to the New Year and the continued success of these Influencers.


Patrick Roden