August 17

I Am Honored

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

I am honored to have been nominated for 2017 WEGO Health Awards in two categories.

The awards program is designed to recognized exceptional advocates, influencers and experts who make a difference in the lives of patients and caregivers by using their voice to transform healthcare across the globe.

I have been honored in the “Best of Show: Twitter” and “Lifetime Achievement” categories.

For the past 40+ years, I have been involved in health care and senior living, professionally and as a volunteer. I have had the privilege of working with hospitals; health care systems; nursing homes; and retirement, assisted living and memory care communities through the country.

My hope is that my nominations will help shine a spotlight on three things:

  1. Chronic health problems and frailty are not normal consequences of aging.
  2. Our focus on health care and senior living should be on bringing more life to years, not just more years to life.
  3. Creating an increased understanding of the need for and benefits of affordable assisted living, especially in light of the coming Tsunami of Baby Boomers.

Affordable assisted living communities provide a wonderful residential alternative to nursing home or to struggling alone at home. Here in Illinois, for instance, they benefit adults 65 and older and adults 22 to 64 with physical disabilities who need some help to maintain their independence.

They benefit family members, especially individuals in the sandwich generation who are challenged by the need to balance the responsibilities of work, raising a family and tending to the needs of older adult parents.

They benefit us as taxpayers and our state and federal governments, as the cost for an individual on Medicaid in an affordable assisted living community is significantly less than nursing home care.

The focus of my advocacy work in recent years has primarily been focused in two arenas – political and the social media.

Our company, Gardant Management Solutions, was among the first in senior living to become heavily involved in social media, initially on Twitter and expanding into Blogging, E-Newsletters, Linked-In and Facebook.

Professionally, I joined Twitter more than eight years ago and have since posted nearly 16,000 tweets.

I have written hundreds of Blogs on a variety of topics of potential interest to older adults, their families and caregivers. I am also responsible for our Gardant E-Newsletter.

Here are just a few examples of the topics that have been covered:

A resident of an affordable assisted living community that we manage that took up wood carving at the age of 92. At 96, he spent three and a half months creating an eight-foot high woodcarving of the Gettysburg Address. The wood carving has been on display at the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois. At 98, he continued to wood carve in his studio apartment in the affordable assisted living community. At 100, he was a member of the community’s Wii Bowling team of residents that qualified to compete in the Final Four of a statewide Wii Bowling Tournament.

A video that was posted on YouTube of residents and staff members of an affordable assisted living community that we manage doing the Harlem Shake. The idea for the video came from the receptionist. She recruited the participants and choreographed the production. Filming was done by the community’s Director of Maintenance, using a cell phone camera.

Tips on coping with the summer heat and humidity and the winter cold.

The benefits of laughter therapy, social connectivity and consuming cantaloupe.

Of course, we also focus on the need for and benefits of affordable assisted living.

I extend my sincere thanks to all of you have already endorsed my nominations.

For those who have not done so already, I welcome your endorsements. Click Here. On my nominee profile, click on the orange box underneath my picture that says “Endorse Rick Banas”.

To endorse my nomination for the Best in Show: Twitter award, just fill in your name and e-mail address and click “Submit”. To endorse my nomination for the Lifetime Achievement award, click again on the orange box under my picture. This time, use the drop-down arrow to the right of the word Award in order to select Lifetime Achievement. Fill in your name and e-mail address and click “Submit”.

I also urge you to encourage family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to endorse my nominations and to post your endorsements of my nominations on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, using the hashtag #WEGOHealthAwards.

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