Mather Announces Expanded Leadership Team; Adds Wayne Langley, David Murlette as Senior Vice Presidents

Evanston, Ill. (Feb. 12, 2020) – Mather, a 79-year-old not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating Ways to Age WellSM, announces the appointment of two new Senior Vice Presidents to its executive Possibilities Team as part of the organization’s strategy for growth, which includes serving more older adults, enhancing signature programs in areas such as wellness and culinary, and piloting new technologies.

Wayne Langley joins Mather as senior vice president of community initiatives and Mather Institute. He will oversee community resources and identify and bring new programs and practices to older adults in their communities, as well as provide leadership to Mather Institute’s applied research initiatives to support older adults and professionals in senior living and aging services.

Read the press release here >

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Senior Housing News: Wellness 2.0: Life Plan Communities Customize Programs to Boost Engagement

The wellness trend has taken the senior living industry by storm — but simply encouraging more healthy habits or offering one-size-fits-all wellness programs may not work.

Residents carry with them certain innate behavioral traits and personalities that may affect their overall health and wellness outcomes, suggesting that providers need to think about catering their offerings to a wider, more diverse swath of older adults.

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McNights: Mather LifeWays unveils new name, logo, tagline as part of rebranding initiative

Evanston, IL-based Mather LifeWays has changed its name to Mather and unveiled a new logo and tagline as part of a rebranding initiative announced Monday.

“The name Mather has always been a part of who we are,” Mather CEO and President Mary Leary said in a statement. “It evokes our founder Alonzo Mather’s unique story as an entrepreneur who lived a life full of possibilities and innovation, inspiring people to do more than they ever thought possible.”

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McKnights: Meet Mary Leary, Hall of Honor inductee

For Mather LifeWays President and CEO Mary Leary, a career in senior living is more than a job. Working in this industry, she says, gives her a sense of purpose that is bigger than herself.

She joined Mather LifeWays in 2002, and since then, the number of older adults the organization serves has grown from 8,400 to more than 61,000, and its endowment has almost doubled.

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Viva Tysons: The Mather: At the Intersection of Wellness and Walkable

As Tysons Corner continues its transformation from a business district
dominated by offices and shopping to a new identity as a community with an ever expanding range of housing options and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, it finds itself intersecting with the wellness revolution now shaping adult and senior living and embracing the dramatic shifts in the housing targeted to older residents by capitalizing on the benefits of mixed-use development.

Mature adults and young seniors are increasingly attuned to their physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual health and wellness. More and more, they are looking for communities that can offer them the services, amenities and opportunities that will deliver personalized wellbeing in every facet of their lives, improving overall quality of life.

Enter The Mather, a forward thinking “life plan community” for people 62 and older.

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McKnight’s: Mather LifeWays accepting reservations at Tysons facility

Mather Lifeways announced this week that it is accepting reservations for a new life plan community in Tysons, VA. The provider already operates communities in Evanston, IL, and Arizona.

The Virginia Mather will feature a fitness center and day spa that will include a swimming pool and whirlpool. Valet parking, a 24-hour concierge and shuttle transportation will be available for residents at the community, which is located near a Metro stop.

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The Fairfax Newsletter: PTC Rezoning Filed for Jone Brand Drive Sites

The site on Jones Branch Drive in Tysons currently home to Hilton Hotel’s world headquarters is the subject of a recent rezoning filed by property owner Bethesda-based BF Saul Company.

Saul’s Tysons Park Inc. and Tysons Park Place II LLC are asking to rezone the two parcels – totaling 7.64 acres – from the C-4, High Intensity Office, to the PTC, Planned Tysons Corner Urban, district to permit, in phases, redevelopment of the prime site (tax map 029-4-07-005B and -005C).

The Providence district property, on the east side of Jones Branch Drive, is book-ended on the south by the Hilton McLean hotel and on the north by the Jones Branch Connector (which will bridge the Beltway and provide a connection to the McLean Metro station on Route 123, within a half-mile of the property).

Two 11-story office buildings – including the 311,600-square foot, 147-foot tall Hilton headquarters building at 7930 Jones Branch – and an above-grade parking garage backing up to the ramps onto I-495 occupy the rectangular-shaped site.

According to the rezoning statement filed on behalf of the applicant by attorney Mark Viani (Bean Kinney & Korman, PC) the applicant has no immediate plans to redevelop the fully-leased, 10-year old building at 7930, but instead is focusing on replacing the “functionally obsolete” Park Place I building at 7926 Jones Branch built in 1975. Read More >

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Evanston Woman: Brilliant Business Women 2017

Eliminating the impossible is a great philosophy and slogan. Mather LifeWays actually operates under this principle. Mary Leary, CEO and President, is currently directing the efforts to make this occur for their customers – and employees… Read More >

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The New York Times: Bingo? Pass. Bring on Senior Speed-Dating and Wine-Tasting.

NOTHING about Mather’s-More Than a Cafe looks as if it’s aimed at people over 50. But the Chicago cafe, which could easily be mistaken for a large Starbucks, is much more than that, serving as a community hub, mostly for older people, with dozens of classes on topics like flower arranging, Egyptian history and digital safety.

In her six years as a member, Pat Knazze, 66, has taken line dancing and piano lessons and participated in over 50 seminars via Skype, including architecture classes that helped her qualify as a neighborhood docent.

As she ages, Ms. Knazze has also found another expected benefit: a caring group of neighbors who serve as a kind of substitute family.

“We’re social beings,” said Ms. Knazze, who is divorced. “And the cafe is a kind and loving group. I have multiple families that nurture me.” The Mather’s Cafe manager even attended Ms. Knazze’s mother’s funeral.

To appeal to baby boomers like Ms. Knazze, many community senior centers are getting up-to-date makeovers. There are about 11,500 senior centers in the United States, according to the National Council on Aging. They are increasingly offering everything from top-flight gyms to speed-dating sessions, wine tastings and Apple support groups.

Many are also shedding their names so that they can evolve beyond being seen as just places to play bingo. The senior center in Rochester, Minn., has become 125 Live, which just opened in a sleek, modernistic building with a teaching kitchen, big lap pool, pottery studio and a gym. Another in Minnesota is now Lakeville Heritage Center; it has yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes — and a motorcycle club.

“We have to move away from hot meals and bingo,” says Jim Firman, the chief executive of the National Council on Aging. “So there’s a lot of exciting innovation going on. The laggards will catch up or go away.”

Mather’s three Chicago cafes helped kick-start the transformation in 2000. They were inspired by Robert Putnam’s best-selling book, “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.” He talked about how people’s health and happiness were declining along with a sense of community, said Mary Leary, chief executive of the Evanston, Ill.–based nonprofit Mather LifeWays.

“So the cafes were conceived as a way to connect with others,” said Ms. Leary. “And it all starts with a cup of coffee.” Indeed, a bottomless cup of coffee costs only 95 cents at Mather’s Cafe, which also offers breakfast and lunch.

Mather’s Cafes take a holistic approach to aging, she said. Classes, aimed at adults 50 and older, include wellness, lifelong learning, fitness and entertainment. There are also telephone topics programs, such as chair yoga or eating well, for people who can’t attend. Innovative classes are devoted to edgier subjects like sexual identity and virtual reality. Fees are donation-only.

“We see aging on a spectrum,” Ms. Leary said. “Let’s help people stay active so they can age in place and connect with others.”

To spread its message, Mather’s holds workshops for other organizations. So far, people from 138 cities have attended and more than 40 other cafes have popped up, Ms. Leary said.

Like Mather’s Cafes, many senior centers are usually funded privately or by communities, so fees are typically nominal.

More a luxury club than a senior center, The Summit in Grand Prairie, Tex., charges $55 a year for adult residents 65 and older. The sunny 60,000-square-foot building has perks like an infinity edge pool, underwater treadmill and a hot tub. There is also a 100-seat movie theater, banquet rooms with full kitchens and an outdoor cafe with a grill.

“This is really an active adult facility,” said Amanda Alms, general manager of The Summit. “The city wanted to create a facility that was unlike any other.” Members have benefited by becoming more fit, finding artistic niches and making lifelong friends, she said.

For Wilfred Sanchez, 69, The Summit has become his home away from home. A Vietnam veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange, Mr. Sanchez has post-traumatic stress disorder and nerve diseases. So he uses The Summit’s pool for exercises like running laps or the underwater treadmill.

“PTSD makes me not want to go anyplace,” said Mr. Sanchez, who is also a retired information technology instructor. “But I don’t let it stop me.” Mr. Sanchez and his wife also visit the center to go to the movies, eat lunch and socialize with other veterans. “I’m so thankful,” he said.

Mr. Firman of the National Council on Aging says his goal is to transform the typical senior center into more of a longevity hub.

“There’s an evolution going on and a revolution as baby boomers age,” Mr. Firman said. “So we’re developing richer programming. We’re given the gift of longevity, so we have to spend it wisely.”

Many people are overwhelmed by the challenges of living longer, Mr. Firman said. “Health is complicated,” he said. “Finances are complicated. And there’s no playbook.”

The Senior Center in Charlottesville, Va., now includes a lifelong learning program on how to design a good life. The center also offers lots of ways to socialize, including singles gatherings, travel partner matches and three bands that members can join. There are also fitness classes, hiking programs and pickleball.

Peter Thompson, the center’s executive director, lamented the word “senior” in the name, though. “It’s a barrier,” Mr. Thompson said. “People don’t want to acknowledge that that’s them.”

The goal, he added, is creating centers that help people feel ageless. So a new center including features like a mind-body studio aimed at active adults is being planned.

Hansie Haier, 65, goes to the senior center often to socialize. She takes line dancing, yoga and tai chi. Ms. Haier, who is single, also teaches a weekly writing group there.

“The center helped me find my purpose,” said Ms. Haier, a retired psychiatric nurse who now writes short stories. “I’m constantly learning new ways of living. A good center helps keep the brain functioning. That’s really important.”

Isolation is a potential risk for millions of aging adults, said Shannon Guzman, a senior policy research analyst at the AARP Public Policy Institute. But new forms of social engagement are emerging in the digital world. Selfhelp Community Services’ Virtual Senior Center in New York helps homebound older adults keep in touch via computer: They can attend group museum tours, Shakespeare discussions or even take laughter yoga.

“We’re building an online community,” said David Dring, executive director of Selfhelp Innovations. “Seniors can create these cyberclassrooms.” They can also create ongoing virtual friendships.

Ms. Knazze says she feels deeply fulfilled and cared for at Mather’s Cafe. “Now,” she said, “I want to share that with others.”

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Senior Housing News: Mather, Northwestern Launch Study on Life Plan Community Benefits

To date, no studies have been conducted to determine the impact that living in a life plan community has on seniors’ long-term health and wellness.

For that reason, the research service arm of Evanston, Illinois-based senior housing provider Mather LifeWays is partnering with a Big Ten university to analyze that very subject.

Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging (MLIA) is facilitating the landmark five-year study in collaboration with Northwestern University to support and inform the senior housing industry. The MLIA research team will conduct the quantitative aspect of the study, while Northwestern will contribute to the qualitative component, according to a press release.

The outcomes and overall impact to life plan community living is an “under-explored” topic, according to Cate O’Brien, PhD, assistant vice president and director of MLIA.

“There are a number of reasons to believe the impact is a positive one, most notably that life plan communities offer an opportunity-rich environment with programs, amenities, services and health care that support wellness, sense of community, and opportunities to find fulfillment, and this study will help to qualify—and quantify—those beliefs,” O’Brien said in the press release.

To complete the study, MLIA is working alongside several senior housing industry groups, including LeadingAge, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), as well as senior housing providers Life Care Services (LCS) and Moorings Park. Chicago-based specialty investment bank Ziegler will also participate in the study.

At least 50 life plan communities will be recruited for the study, according to MLIA.

Participating communities and organizations will receive an annual report on key findings—such as quality of life, self-reported health, and additional health-related metrics. A one-page brief specific to a participating community will be issued to them if more than 30 of its residents participate.

At the end of the five-year study, each community will also receive a copy of the full report.

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