February 2020

Thank you to our Diamond Sponsors

Thank you to our Platinum Sponsors

Thank you to our Gold Sponsors

Thank you to our Bronze Sponsor

Conversations with Ginny

"Excitement is a Mixture of Enthusiasm, Motivation, Intuition and a hint of Creativity." Author unknown.

There are so many exciting initiatives going on with LeadingAge! We've launched a fantastic new website thanks to our new partner, FIVE19. Sharon Sullivan of LeadingAge national connected us to FIVE19, and we love their work! They specialize in web development, corporate graphic identity development, content marketing and more. Click HERE to see our new website. and click HERE to learn more about the incredible work of FIVE19. A huge thank you to Derek Machado and the FIVE19 team who made working on the website a lot of fun. Also thank you to Scott Bassett who took the lead on working with FIVE19 and Susan Watkins for all of their time and talent working to launch our site.

I am very excited about the speakers and topics lined up for our conference coming up March 23-25. If you haven't registered yet for the conference please do so by clicking HERE. Some members have reported having a hard time registering for the hotel online so if you find that the case, we recommend that you call and ask for the LeadingAge rate. The rates are available until February 17th or until the block is full.

Members are asking about legislation in the works. We know that Representative Sharon Cooper will be sponsoring an assisted living bill and we'll share the bill with you as soon as we have it. Right now, the legislature is focusing on slashing costs in the State's budget.

If you want a fundraising idea, check out the article on the fundraiser that the Athens Community Council on Aging benefitted from – it will give you goosebumps.

Inspiration abounds in the article about the A.G. Rhodes milestone of now having three communities on the Eden Registry! Check out the great news about HUD funding and National Church Residence stepping up to serve more residents with affordable housing.

Be in the know with the latest on the fingerprint background check when you read the article and be sure to read the article about rolling out the medical marijuana program in Georgia. Keep in mind that the rate of THC allowed per Georgia's laws is among the most conservative in the 33 states where medical marijuana is allowed. You may want to share information from the article with your residents.

We have two slots left in our Leadership Academy so go ahead and reserve one by clicking HERE.

Our Governance as Leadership series kicked off in January and it was outstanding. Thank you to our sponsors for the event, Arnall, Golden and Gregory, Dixon, Hughes and Goodman and Ziegler. See the article on the program and consider joining in for the rest of the series. You can click HERE to register.

Thank you for all you do to enhance the lives of older adults.


2020 Leadership Academy Registration - 2 Spaces Remain

The LeadingAge Georgia Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy 2020 offers LeadingAge Georgia members a challenging and engaging year-long learning experience. It is designed to engage and support aging services professionals at any level in their organization. The environment is created for an enriched experience of shared learning with colleagues, guest coaches and the facilitators.

The vision of LeadingAge Georgia is to create a generation of authentic, open-minded and transformational leaders who will collaboratively and innovatively create the future of aging services in America. Successful organizations want strong leaders thriving throughout their organizations. We especially encourage the identification and application of minority staff who are emerging leaders in organizations.

The 2020 class begins in February, and is limited to 30 participants.

Click HERE for application.

2020 Annual Conference - Early Bird Rate Ends February 19

Let's all come "TOGETHER" for the LeadingAge GA/SC Annual Conference, March 23-March 25 in Greenville, SC. Join us as Jan McInnis kicks off our annual conference at 10:00 am on "Finding the Funny in Change." She will definitely have you laughing and prepared for dealing with change in your organization. Whether you are looking for information regarding palliative care, using robots for cognitive support or facing construction in your occupied community, there is an educational session for everyone. On Wednesday, Larry Minnix will close our conference with a session titled, "What's your REAL job?" We look forward to seeing you in Greenville March 23-25. Be sure to register early and save.

Click HERE for the Attendee Registration Brochure
Click HERE for the Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus

Hotel Information
Hyatt Regency Greenville
220 North Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
1-888-421-1442 OR 864-235-1234

Group Name & Rates: LeadingAge GA/SC Conference
$165 (Single/Double) and $175 (Triple/Quad)

Rates only available until the room block is full or February 17, 2020 (whichever comes 1st). Important: Association staff will not be able to assist with hotel reservations after this date.

Update on Medical Marijuana in Georgia

By Ginny Helms

Here's what you need to know – The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission is working to develop rules, regulations and licensing processes for growing and selling medical marijuana.

Expect the big companies like Surterra and Truelieve who are in other states to be among the companies that open dispensaries here in Georgia and for medical marijuana to be available within eight to twelve months.

The Georgia Department of Community Health in close consultation with the Georgia Composite Medical Board developed a Low THC Registry for individuals who meet the medical conditions set forth in the law.

By law, any person who is diagnosed with the conditions or diseases covered by the law can obtain a Low THC Registry card which will allow him/her to possess up to 20 ounces of medical marijuana. Also by law, a person who wishes to obtain a low THC Registry card must have an established relationship with a physician registered to provide the cards. This means that older adults who wish to obtain medical marijuana have the option of asking his/her physician to register with the Georgia Department of Public Health or establish a relationship with a physician who is already registered with DPH. With this program being new, there is a limited number of physicians registered with DCH. Physicians can learn more about the program and register to be able to provide the card on the DPH website link: This website has information that includes "What Doctors Need to Know about Georgia's Medical Marijuana Law."

The physician and the patient fill out two forms; a waiver form and a form that certifies that the physician has an established relationship with the patient, has examined him/her and determined he/she has one or more of the medical conditions set forth in the law. The physician then forwards the certification to the Georgia Department of Public Health who will then issue the card to the patient. The cost of the registration card is $25.

After receipt of the card, the patient will then go to a licensed dispensary to purchase low THC oil. We expect there to be a non-profit dispensary in addition to the companies who have opened dispensaries in other states.

As a reminder, here are the conditions for which a person can qualify to obtain a low THC Registry card:

Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage

Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries

Multiple sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage

Crohn's disease

Mitochondrial disease

Parkinson's disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage

Sickle cell disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage

Tourette's syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe

Autism spectrum disorder, when (a) patient is 18 years of age or more, or (b) patient is less than 18 years of age and diagnosed with severe autism

Epidermolysis bullosa

Alzheimer's disease, when such disease is severe or end stage

AIDS when such syndrome is severe or end stage

Peripheral neuropathy, when symptoms are severe or end stage

Patient is in hospice program, either as inpatient or outpatient

Intractable pain

Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing of a trauma for a patient who is at least 18 years of age

Join Us for the LeadingAge (National) Leadership Summit and Help Shape the Future of Aging

As busy as we all are, it's hard to have time to do everything there is to do, right? Still, we need to take time and invest in opportunities for thinking about the future of aging. LeadingAge national works hard to bring together forward-thinking leaders at the Leadership Summit to connect, engage in dialogue, deepen our knowledge about the future, how we can shape it, and paths to get there together.

The Leadership Summit is coming up on April 19-22. We'll have a visit to Capitol Hill on April 22nd and you can make an impact with our elected officials! Click here to learn about the topics, speakers and to register:

National Church Residences Chosen by HUD for New Section 202 Funding

With an affordable housing shortage, we are delighted that HUD has announced awarding Section 202 funding in eight states and Washington. National Church Residences was awarded funding and will be constructing a new development in Douglasville. National Church Residences is responding to an acute need for affordable housing. Here in Georgia thirty-two percent of renters 80 and over spend more than half of their incomes for housing. Research tells us that these same seniors spend 47% less on food and 50% less on healthcare than seniors without housing cost burdens. The Section 202 program serves older adults who are priced out of today's housing market. In Georgia, the average annual income of a Section 202 household is $13,337. According to Sojourner Marable Grimmett, Director of External Affairs, Atlanta Region, "We're excited to see our footprint in affordable senior housing grow within the metro Atlanta area. Senior residents will benefit from an amenity-rich location with easy access to health care services, grocery stores, and senior services.

The Latest on the Fingerprint Background Check Program

By Ginny Helms

Members are getting acclimated to the new fingerprint background check program and we're hearing it is going smoothly for the most part. Two issues have bubbled up regarding the program. First, fingerprint background checks are being returned in the forty-eight hour window promised if the background check passes the standards set in the law. The background checks are taking much longer if a background check does not pass the standards set in the law. In these cases, the DCH staff sometimes does further checks in order to have clarification.

As you know, there is an appeal process if someone does not pass the background check. We've learned that DCH has overturned some background check denials upon appeal. With that said, if you hire someone and then have their background check done during the grace period, don't be surprised to receive a notice from DCH that the person cannot work in your community because he/she did not pass the background check.

Members are asking about obtaining copies of the background check because some members screen out some misdemeanor crimes that the background check does not screen out. The GBI staff explained that members cannot obtain copies of the background check because the FBI provides the nationwide background check and they have a policy that the reports can only be provided to an agency. You may want to review the crimes that the background check covers.

To review information about the fingerprint background check including information on disqualifying crimes that could prohibit employment and how to appeal click HERE.

There's Still Time to join in the LeadingAge Georgia Leadership as Governance Series

By Ginny Helms

After months in the planning, we launched our initial Leadership as Governance series for members and their board members and it turns out there is incredible interest in governance training! There is still time for you to join the series and if you have questions like our attendees do including who should be on the board, how to have effective committees and board meetings and how to fund the mission.

We have stellar leaders for the series headed up by Larry Minnix along with Aaron Rulnick, managing partner of HJ Sims, Keith Seeloff, partner at DHG Healthcare, Tad Melton, managing director of Ziegler Investment Banking, LeadingAge Georgia board chair Chris Keysor, Jennifer Hilliard of Arnall, Golden and Gregory Linda Couch, affordable housing expert with LeadingAge and fundraiser guru Ann Curry.

Expect incredible information to come from the series. At the kick off meeting, Larry Minnix, former LeadingAge CEO framed the series by talking about dysfunctional governance as well as boards who have transformed themselves. Aaron Rulnick shared insights on the impact of strong board governance, which includes mission fulfillment, quality, short and long-term financial viability, ratings and accreditation, growth opportunities and cost of capital. Arron shared thoughts on evaluating quality and what benchmarks and metrics to use. He also talked about the annual budget process and the capital budget and said the board must ensure that there are adequate resources to accomplish goals and strategies. He shared how to review interim and audited financial statements and suggested an "executive session" with auditors to identify areas of risk.

Chris Keysor shared a case study of Lenbrook which included their process for their expansion. Their process included extensive primary and secondary market research including focus groups. Management shared key learnings at periodic updates on bundled services and community. Chris shared that some of the great ideas for their expansion came from residents. He also shared that the board has been an asset over the last ten years with advice related to expertise, nurturing and driving strategy, supporting the culture both within Lenbrook and in the community and helping with development.

There will be four more Leadership as Governance sessions throughout the year. They are lunch meetings from noon until 2 pm. The cost is $200 which includes a LeadingAge member and two board members.

Click HERE to register.

We are grateful to our sponsors for the leadership series including Arnall, Golden & Gregory, DHG, Ziegler and Morrison Living. We are also very grateful to our host sites including Lenbrook, DHG as part of the Southeast Finance Conference, Canterbury Court, St. George Village, Presbyterian Village and A.G. Rhodes.

The next policy governance session will be part of the Southeastern Finance Conference Hosted by DHG on March 5th.

Middle Income & Affordable Senior Housing Market

By Ginny Helms

The shortage of affordable senior housing has been in the forefront of LeadingAge and now we're hearing that the highest growth in the 75 and older age group is in the middle income segment. The housing shortage for this demographic is expected to grow exponentially. Tad Melton, Managing Director of Ziegler made a presentation for the LeadingAge Georgia Board of Directors and said that the middle income segment is a new epicenter of need.

According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), middle income seniors include today's retiring teachers, firefighters, government workers and nurses as well as other individuals with financial resources between $24,000 and $95,000 annually. Tad indicated that these individuals make too much to qualify for subsidized housing and have too little wealth to qualify for most senior housing options.

According to NIC, more than half of middle-income seniors will not have the financial resources to pay for senior housing and care.

Hopefully, non-profit and other mission based organizations will develop housing to serve the middle income market. Tad shared that Givens Estates in Asheville North Carolina opened two communities to serve this market. Monthly fees for 60 Givens Gerber Park are $1,328 to $2,328 for a one-bedroom unit and $1,497 to $2,510 for a two-bedroom apartment. Monthly fees and administrative fees are based on a sliding scale based on income and include rent and all utilities, expanded basic cable, internet and landline telephone service as well as $125 Monthly Café dollars per person.

Tad stressed that the foundation of the Givens model is enhanced service coordination and a community nurse. He also said the low income housing market taught us that partnerships are essential. In the case of Givens, that includes the Duke Endowment who provided funding in the development of the property, Mission Health, Meals on Wheels, Manna Foodbank and other partners.

LeadingAge Virginia convened a cabinet to address the shortage of middle income housing for older adults and developed a model for development of housing for this cohort. If you are interested in viewing the proformas shared by Ziegler or LeadingAge Virginia contact me at

Congratulations to A.G. Rhodes for Now Having Three Communities on the Eden Registry!

No doubt it is a lot of work to prepare a community to be on the Eden Registry, but A.G. Rhodes has put in the work and now has not one but three communities on the Registry. Deke Cateau, the A.G. Rhodes staff and board are demonstrating their commitment to person-directed/person-centered care with the efforts they put in to achieve this milestone.

I asked Deke Cateau what made him and his team decide to become Eden certified. Deke said "A few years ago we began exploring best practices internationally and nationally for an improved model of care—specifically as it related to dementia-care. Several of us were already familiar with the Eden Alternative, and after observing various models of care elsewhere, we felt the Eden Alternative offered the education and resources we needed at A.G. Rhodes to help us most effectively transform to a person-directed model of care. "

Since we all want to know how hard it is to implement Eden, I asked Deke how hard was it to do and what was the hardest part. Deke said "A.G. Rhodes has been around for more than 115 years, and while we've evolved and adapted over the years, we were still built on an institutional model of care like most nursing home providers. We've always prided ourselves on being a compassionate provider, but rigidity has been ingrained in our culture for decades, and culture is a hard thing to change. Person-directed care is about flexibility and spontaneity, which can be tough when you work in of the most highly-regulated industries in the country. We had to accept that our transformation to person-directed care was going to take time—and that it would be an ongoing learning and growing process."

I asked Deke what are some of his favorite things about the Eden initiative. Deke said "When you go through the Eden Registry process, you have to relinquish control to some extent. We're so used to structure and regulations, but person-directed care and this process teaches us to focus on the relationships between caregivers and care receivers. Relationships aren't built around rigidity and we have to empower and trust our staff to make decisions in the best interest of our residents because they're the ones forming bonds and spending the most time with them. We've seen that when staff are empowered, they look at this as much more than a job—they see the value in the relationships they develop."

Thank you A.G. Rhodes team for all of the talent, effort and heart you put into joining the Eden Registry!

Serving Older Adults with a History of Trauma

Unmanaged behavioral health conditions of residents has long been one of the biggest concerns of staff in older adult housing communities. Wesley Woods Senior Living leadership decided to get a better understanding of behavioral health issues in one of their communities in order to ensure the well-being of their residents. Through their wellness program, they brought in a psychologist who interviewed residents who were willing to share their behavioral health histories. Nancie Vito, Wellness Director for Wesley Woods Senior Living shared highlights of the interview findings with the Georgia Institute on Aging Board. The conditions that were commonly reported include depression, anxiety, PTSD and trauma. One of the "aha" moments that the board had was the need for staff to be able to provide "trauma informed care."

In an article in McKnights Long-term Care News, Lisa Lind, PhD talks about the need for staff to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and have a plan for meeting the emotional and behavioral health needs of residents. She also says staff need to respond with empathy and respect, keep the resident's personal trauma information private-provide the least amount of details that will still allow for personalization of care while avoiding re-victimization, create an emotionally and physically safe environment and refer for behavioral health services in order to provide appropriate assessment and treatment by a competent professional. To read the article by Lisa Lind, PhD click HERE.

Check Out My LeadingAge Member Community

Want to solve problems, exchange knowledge or share resources with peers across the country in your area of interest? Check out the new My LeadingAge Member Community where LeadingAge members across the country connect with one another online. There are more than twenty-five groups including Adult Day Services, CAST/Technology, Communications Collaborative, Compliance, Continuing Care at Home, Corporate Alliance Program Members, Facilities Management Professionals, Governance, Holistic Wellbeing, Home & Community-Based Services, Home Health, Hospice, Housing Operations & Policy, HR/Workforce, LGBT, Life Plan Community, Life Plan Community Single Site, Living Well with Dementia, Managed Care, Marketing, Next Gen Professionals, Nursing homes, PACE, Payroll-Based Journal, Philanthropy, Rural Providers, Social Accountability, Social Work and Student Program.

To join your community, click HERE.

You are Invited to Attend the DHG Southeast Finance Conference

As a member of LeadingAge Georgia, you are invited by Dixon Hughes Goodman to have complimentary registration for their 6th Annual Southeast Finance Conference coming up on March 4th and 5th. The theme of the conference is Governance as Leadership: What Every Board Needs to Know. Larry Minnix, author and former LeadingAge CEO will be the keynote speaker and he'll engage attendees to explore important issues that must be addressed by every governance body or ownership group if their organization is to be successful.

The conference will bring together national and regional stakeholders from the for-profit and non-profit sectors to explore how organizations should position themselves and continue to rebalance their programs to remain relevant in today's dynamic marketplace.

The beautiful Candler Hotel, located in downtown Atlanta at 127 Peachtree Street, will be the site for the conference. A welcome reception kicks off the conference on Wednesday, March 4th at 6 pm. The conference will begin with a continental breakfast on Thursday, March 5th from 7:45 am to 8:45 am followed by welcome and framing of the conference by Keith Seeloff. Session topics include the future of nursing homes and assisted living within the continuum, the middle market opportunity as well as a finance panel that will discuss issues currently impacting the capital markets.

For more information on speakers and topics click HERE.
To register, use the promo code ONEDHG and click HERE.

New Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report Available

Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) just published the 22nd annual Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report in cooperation with LeadingAge.  According to the new survey, administrators in Georgia are among the lowest paid in the nation at an average of $63,452 annually while administrators in Massachusetts are making an average of $92,682.  

The Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report covers twenty management and twenty-nine non-management positions.  The report includes ALFs, PCFs and RCFs.  It also includes data on fringe benefits, turnover rates by department and projected salary increases for 2020.  

The discounted price for LeadingAge members is $275 versus the $350 non-member rate. Click here for more information:

A Fantastic Fundraising Event

Wow! Talk about an exciting fundraiser—the Rotary Club hosted "Plungefest-Freezin for a Reason" for the Athens Community Council on Aging. Individuals with big hearts and incredible commitment took a dip in a local, very cold lake and raised $12,000! The funding will be used to pay for adult day health services for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and for Ensure, Depends and supportive services such as transportation and meals on wheels. Take a look at the photos that include Eve Anthony, Chief Executive Officer for the Council and board member of LeadingAge Georgia. How cool is that? Eve said it was very cold!

Mark Your Calendar


Activity Professionals/GAAP Symposium
February 11, 2020

Leadership Academy First Event
February 19, 2020

Service Coordinators Forum
February 21, 2020

Elderly Housing Symposium
February 25, 2020


Assisted Living Symposium
March 5, 2020
Registration coming soon

2020 Annual Conference
March 23-25, 2020
Attendee Registration Brochure
Exhibitor Prospectus

Job Mart

Activities Coordinator - Royal Oaks
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Assistant Activities Coordinator - Lenbrook
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Director of Marketing & Sales - Carlyle Place
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Dining Services Manager - Royal Oaks
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Life Enrichment Coordinator - Decatur Christian Towers
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LPN (Administrative) - Canterbury Court
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LPN Charge Nurse - Canterbury Court
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RN Nurse Manager/Supervisor - Canterbury Court
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