Reminder About IRA Mandatory Distributions and Quaker Values

While Collington welcomes those of all faiths (and none), we do have a commitment to Quaker values and process.

So, as tax time approaches, it may be worth reminding that those who want or need to make distributions out of IRA’s that the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), as well as a myriad other organizations of every political hue, have tax exempt divisions that can provide favorable tax treatment to such distributions.

As a memo from FCNL puts it:

Good news! Congress has made permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover originally enacted in 2006. This means that if you are 70 1/2 years or older, you can make a gift to FCNL Education Fund directly from your IRA and it won’t count towards your taxable income for the year.

The provision permanently extends the ability of individuals at least 70 1/2 years of age to exclude from their gross income qualified charitable distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The exclusion may not exceed $100,000 per taxpayer in any tax year.

Qualified charitable distributions must be transferred directly from your IRA custodian to the FCNL Education Fund by December 31 in order to be counted as qualified charitable distributions.

Now, of all times, it makes sense to ensure that information is shared and voices are heard on all sides.  That website provides more detailed “how to” information.

 

Our Sibling Community, Lathrop, Is a Pioneer in Assisting Refugees

One of Collington’s sibling communities in the Kendal Network has recently held up a beacon for the rest of us to follow.

Lathrop in Northampton, Massachusetts, has found a way to put our values into practice in assisting the resettlement and integration of refugees.  As described by Executor Director Thom Wright:

We feel blessed to be a small part of the conversation related to refugee resettlement. As I’m sure you can attest, Kendal communities strive to put our deeply held beliefs into action each day and to foster inclusivity and diversity as intentional expressions of these values. This often leads us to consider the ways in which we can actively transform the experience of aging in community, on both a local and a global level.
 
At a fundamental level, Lathrop provides housing services for diverse groups seeking a place of refuge in which to engage with like-minded, value-driven contemporaries. Our inclusive environment speaks to the notion that for some who come to live at Lathrop, we are a place of ready-acceptance. We consider ourselves to truly be a safe haven.
 
At any given time we invariably have some unoccupied units (although our townhomes are generally 100% occupied), along with other property we own but currently do not lease, which led us to consider how we could bless others in need of transitional housing, such as homeless families and refugees.
 
Last year, Catholic Charities began the conversation around resettling refugees within the local community. The city of Northampton agreed to work with Catholic Charities to resettle 51 refugee families in 2017! Several of our residents subsequently joined the Circle of Care, a local volunteer cohort willing to come alongside refugee families to assist with starting anew; ESL classes, transportation, furniture, etc. Several housing providers met with the group to discuss options within the city.
 
It was at this point that I suggested that Lathrop might be of assistance. We have residents who teach ESL, one who speaks fluent Arabic, many highly-active caregivers and we have housing. We held a campus workshop to learn more about the resettlement process and to discuss the ways in which Lathrop could be involved.  We initiated an evaluation of a home we own on an adjacent property and were not too far into our process when I received a call 2 weeks ago. A mother and her two adult sons had been cleared to arrive within days and none of the local housing options were viable due to the need for a handicapped accessible dwelling.
 
Unfortunately, none of our accessible apartments at the Inn were available but the next day, a resident who is co-chair of the city’s Circle of Care, asked if she and her husband could give up their townhome for two weeks and invite the refugee family to stay there, instead. A perfect solution!
 
I was able to offer this couple an Inn apartment and meals on our Easthampton campus and the refugee family arrived within days and settled into their “new community. ” They have been busy learning English and looking for permanent housing, with assistance from Catholic Charities and the Circle of Care. One son has even joined in with a group of residents that plays ping pong and billiards on Fridays. I am happy to say that the family will be staying for an additional two weeks but have since found suitable housing to begin the process of assimilating into Northampton.
 
I must share that this one small act of humanity has united our community in wonderful ways. It has reaffirmed for many that Lathrop/Kendal truly lives its values and is not isolated from global matters that matter most. We continue to dialogue around this and other areas in which Lathrop can have impact. In the coming weeks, once this lovely family has been resettled and begins to tell their story in more detail, Lathrop will also share it more broadly, with humility and gratitude to our residents who are truly the ones transforming the experience of aging for all who call Western Massachusetts, home.

What more is there to say?

Can we all try to find ways to “unite[] our [broader] community in wonderful ways?”  Maybe the opportunity to experience an act of helping as a helper might covert some in the outside world who now fear such integration.

Kendal Report, as Always, Has Nice News

Each year the Kendal Annual Report, viewable in full here, reminds us of why Collington’s Kendal affiliation is so important to us.

This year some of the highlights for me are:

A review of some of the highlights of our leadership in whole ageing world, including, to quote for the Board Chair Message:

  • Promoting restraint-free care through Kendal’s national Untie the Elderly® program and the Pennsylvania Restraint Reduction Initiative, which has helped virtually eliminate the use of physical restraints in Pennsylvania over the past 20 years.
  • Helping to create the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission, now CARF-CCAC, to promote national standards of excellence.
  • Providing a proving ground for the late Dr. Dennis McCullough’s “Slow Medicine” concept—a more humane and less costly approach to end-of-life care.
  • Pioneering college/retirement communityrelationships with a passion for lifelong learning.
  • Partnering with Hebrew SeniorLife (a Harvard Medical School A liate) to create and implement Vitalize 360, a scientically grounded health
    and wellness assessment system that engages, challenges and inspires older adults to live full, healthy, vibrant lives and enables communities to better foster successful aging.

Similarly quoting, a listing of some of the newer such initiatives:

  • Kendal at Home, which became a full- edged Kendal Affiliate in March, has begun to expand beyond northern Ohio to central and southern Ohio. In November, Kendal at Home introduced private duty home care—including companionship, light housekeeping and personal care—to its members.
  • The new Tapestry program at Barclay Friends is based on the premise that superior dementia care enhances freedom and personal choice. The highly personalized memory support program encourages positive social interactions and fosters a better quality of life.
  • A recent fundraising effort garnered $165,000 in seed money for the Kendal | People Development Initiative. This new program will help develop System-wide programs to support relevant training, certification, internship, fellowship and mentorship programs.
  • In December, Kendal Charitable Funds awarded two Promising Innovations grants for 2015–2016: a $25,000 grant to the Michigan LGBT Aging Project; and a $20,000 grant to Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, to fund a yearlong Caregiver Boot Camp program.

So many of these items,most of which are discussed in more detail in the full Report, have so much to say to us in our strategic planning process here at Collington.  In particular, I am moved by this lovely news from the anti-restraint campaign.

Kendal Outreach, a subsidiary of Kendal, which administers and staffs the Pennsylvania Restraint Reduction Initiative (PARRI), announced June 7 at a news conference in Pennsylvania’s Capitol that the use of physical restraints in state nursing homes dropped to an all-time low in 2015—0.7 percent. Statistics compiled by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate Pennsylvania has seen a 97.6 percent drop in physical restraint use since PARRI’s inception in 1996.

My question to us all is this:  Twenty years on, what are the national, state, and Collington issue or issues that emerged from the strategic planning process on which we want to be able to look back and say we have been 97.6% successful?

In the same spirit, it’s great (if a little bittersweet) to about our former CFO Amy Harrison, and how:

Amy is one of 22 staff from throughout the Kendal System who recently completed the Kendal Leadership Fellows Program. Modeled after the LeadingAge Academy Program, Kendal’s program consists of three, three-day fellowship retreats held in St. David’s, Pennyslvania, over the course of eight months. Fellows are encouraged to take risks, stretching outside their “comfort zones” to consider new perspectives or try out new behaviors.

How about including residents in the program, or setting up a parallel program for residents interested in such a 97.6% project?  (Actually we could call the initiative “The 97% Project“, to remind ourselves how much difference the right project, at the right time, done by the right people, with the right persistence, can make.)

Proud of Our Kendal Affiliation — Spreading the Immigration Tool Word

I am so proud that Collington is part of the Kendal Network of Quaker value retirement communities.

They have now posted on their blog my recent blog on this Collington Residents site about tools to help people with immigration issues find out their options, get help, and take action.  Here is the Kendal posting.

They have also put it on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

It means so much to me that we are part of a network with strong values and unfrightened about asserting those values when needed to protect the vulnerable.

I know that for us the moment when we knew we had to come here was when we read about Kendal’s leadership role in almost eliminating restraints from nursing homes.  It’s the same thing here, really.

I urge everyone to share the information about this tool, copied below, with a particular focus on those groups and networks that have contact with those whose families and friends are most likely to need it. “It’s not enough, but it’s a start.”

Paste from my prior blog below:

So it seems appropriate, without necessarily making any political judgment, to share the information that the Immigration Action Network  and Pro Bono Net, an organization that develops online tools for access to justice, (and which incidentally I helped found twenty years ago, have just launched a major new online tool to help those facing immigration issues.  It is obviously overwhelmingly timely.  Here is some of the announcement from the groups:

Hi all – We just launched an ambitious new platform called immi (English: www.immi.org,  Spanish: www.immi.org/es ) to help immigrants understand their legal options, find legal help and protect their future.

Immi includes an in-depth online screening tool with individualized results for family-based immigration, asylum, TPS/DED (Temporary Protected Status/ Deferred Enforced Departure ), SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status), U/T visas (Domestic Violence), VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), DACA (Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals) and more, as well as know your rights resources and a search tool to help immigrants find local nonprofit legal assistance.

Please explore, blog, link to, and help us get the word out using our simple social sharing tools: https://www.immi.org/info/share.html.

 

 

Kendal CEO Sean Kelly on Strategic Planning — Now With Some Photos

Last week, as the second of the three planned Educational Programs designed to launch our community-wide strategic planning process, Kendal President and CEO Sean Kelly talked abut Kendal’s approach to strategic planning, and how the overall group hopes to benefit from and support the various individual community planning processes.  It underlined again the incalculable value that we at Collington have received from the Kendal affiliation.

First, he outlined the five themes of Kendal’s plan:

Operational excellence.

This is a simple necessity for our values to be effective and for our culture and reputation to spread.  Kendal is adding the staff needed to achieve these operational goals that represent our values.  Examples are a new common payroll system, ensuring consistency of budget management software, and making sure that all Kendals share and use appropriate best practices.

Growth and Evolution

It is imperative that Kendals serve different populations have new programs and find different ways of delivering services.  We will be focusing on Innovation from Inside, but we will not be blind to new possibilities.  Rather we will have broad peripheral vision, looking out for ideas that have fundamental connection to our values.  We will not expand for the sake of scale. (although Sean did, tantalizingly, hint at the existence of, but not the details of, an “interesting” west coast possibility.)

Sean descried Vitalize 360, which we are implimenting. as an initiative that went beyond health care to help people set self-determined engagement goals in all aspects of their lives, including but not limed to health care.  In a brief discussion afterwards, one resident suggested that the idea should be re-branded “Vitalize 360-3D” to emphasize its multi-dimensional approach.  Not just getting your blood pressure down, but finishing that article, or being more able to spent time with kids, or fining end of life peace, being an activist about changing health care.

Kendal At Home is also moving forward and fits in with many new approaches, including technology and remote services.

People

Its getting harder and harder to recruit and keep the right people.  We have to provide the training, pathways, opportunities to innovate, curriculum to attract those who have not yet even thought about a career in CCRCs.  (It has occurred to some that involving some not management staff in the strategic planning process might turn them on to the possibilities of spending their lives in this feel.  I am sure that every resident can think of such people whose level of caring and skill rises far above the ordinary.)

Technology

Sean agrees that we are not yet enough on the cutting edge.  He urged that we need to exploit the communication possibilities of Kendal wide workgroups, resources, problems solving, etc., for residents as well as staff.   International connections, tele-health, wearables, and electronic and resident-empowering medical records are all examples of such value-driven technology.

Together

Sean promised that the slogan “Stronger Together” really was being used as a phrase at Kendal before it was used in this year’s campaign.

He also reflected that the Kendal-wide integrating process for ideas, innovations, and services just could not have been done before.  Now we are in a position to leverage all our capacities and get together and leverage scale.

In the follow-up discussion these were some of the ideas that emerged:

  • With respect to global warming, there were indeed many initiatives at the community level that could be shared and replicated.
  • Long term insurance (or pre-buy) might be integrated into options for those planning to come here.
  • We need other choices than the standard and usual limited menu of Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Nursing care.
  • We need much smoother and more flexible transitions between these levels.

One vision for the future would be more flexible and mixed structures with some home units, some nursing suites, and assisted living in each neighborhood and with many program spaces which would connect and serve people at all levels (as we hope with the new Bistro). This would maximize self-determination and pre-planning in transitions.

The final question was about the relative authority of Kendal and each community.  Sena’s answer was very important.  On the one hand, there is huge flexibility on practical matters like menu.  But, on matters of fundamental values, Kendal will stand firm.  Sean gave as an example the unacceptability as a general matter of the use of restraints for those suffering dementia.  Kendal’s respect for humanness values would be inconsistent with such an approach.

To conclude:  The whole session was again very exciting and strengthened the sense of possibility for this process.  Moreover the emphasis on the insistence on adherence to our fundamental values is very reassuring for the future, as we work to resolve the differences of perspective that inevitably occur — and should occur —  in a health and improving community.

Some photos:

img_7259img_7257img_7243