The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health and hospice care. To see this year’s future leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
Elise Selinger has been named a 2021 Future Leader by Senior Housing News.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. They must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Senior Housing News spoke with Selinger to learn more about how 2Life aims to change middle-market senior housing and why she believes the time is right for the organization to make “big bold moves.”
What drew you to the senior living industry?
I have always worked in housing. I started in affordable, low-income homeownership in New York City. At that time, what I noticed was that a lot of the women who were supporting these cooperatives were elderly, and they weren’t necessarily successful in that setting. I also have a sociology background and understand demographic trends.
I went off to MIT’s Urban Planning Department with the goal to learn as much as I could about senior housing. While I was at MIT, I was very fortunate to get connected with the MIT AgeLab. And by participating in something called the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Competition, I met 2Life Communities President and CEO Amy Schectman and Lizbeth Heyer, chief of real estate and innovation. I was able to intern here at 2Life for my first and second year of grad school, and the rest is history.
What has been your biggest lesson learned since joining the industry?
I have two.
The first would be that it’s important to be part of a mission-driven team. That’s what we have at 2Life Communities. We identify what the consumer needs for their whole life — purpose and connection, abating loneliness, homecare — so we’re not just trying to solve a business line that creates profit. We’re really trying to create models that address the whole health and whole wellness needs of the seniors that work with us.
The second lesson really relates to the work I’m doing now with our Opus middle-income initiative. Historically in senior housing, it feels like the model has been very top-down — and the baby boomers are going to change that. They are starting to tell us what their expectations are, what they’re looking for, how the existing models don’t work for them, and what needs to change. So, I think staying in touch with the market in a robust and tactical way has been key.
What would you change about senior housing and care if you had the chance?
Care delivery and care delivery settings. This is something that affordable housing practitioners are really just coming to think about, that alignment of interest and coordination. To me, the wave of the future is care delivery. Who are the caregivers out there? How do we make great jobs for them in these terrific, dense, efficient settings that can provide coordination?
The setting of the care delivery and creating good jobs for care delivery is something that the industry is just going to have to embrace, and we’re going to move in that direction. 2Life is moving that direction beyond fee-for-service, and we’re actively having terrific conversations with PACE providers, with Medicare Advantage providers, to find all avenues of insurance innovation to create a holistic system.
What changes do you see on the horizon for senior housing in 2022?
The MIT AgeLab has put forth a bold proposal that Massachusetts and Boston will be the longevity hub. And they’ve been making the case through a series of Boston Globe op-eds.
We’re really going to drive innovation in the next year. We have all the right players, we have the right political support through 2Life. Both our CEO, Amy Schectman, and the MIT AgeLab founder, Dr. Joe Coughlin, are on the Governor’s Council to address aging. So, we’re ready to make big bold moves, and I’m excited to see what comes from that.
In a word, how would you describe the future of senior housing?
Our seniors need to connect online. They need high-touch connection, so living amongst community to address loneliness is critical for physiological wellness and emotional wellness. And then that connects into the broader area of where 2Life is headed: connection and purpose. We explicitly choose our sites to connect with others in our area.
To learn more about the Future Leaders program, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
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