Highlights from this week’s conversation include:
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Abundant Aging is a podcast series presented by United Church Homes. These shows offer ideas, information, and inspiration on how to improve our lives as we grow older. To learn more and to subscribe to the show, visit abundantagingpodcast.com.
Michael Hughes 00:07
Everybody and welcome to The Art of aging which is part of the abundant aging podcast series from United Church homes. And on this show, we look at what it means to age in America and in other places around the world with positive and empowering conversation to challenge and courage can inspire everyone everywhere to age with abundance. Very pleased to have this week’s guests on the show and please introduce Ryan Fredrick. And Ryan is certainly no stranger to the world of aging and the places that we choose to call home. He is a thought leader that focuses on the intersection of place and healthy longevity, including the author of The Best Selling Right Place Right Time, the ultimate guide to choosing a home for the second half of life. His work has been featured in CBS News, Forbes, and other national outlets. His content has reached 10s of 1000 people 10s of 1000s of people rather do keynote talks, workshops, courses, videos, blogs, online assessments, and of course his book. In addition to consumer cadre content, Orion provides strategic consulting services to a wide range of organizations, including profit for profit and not for profit Senior Living providers. He has held executive leadership roles at Erickson Living, he is the principal at Coast wood Senior Living Senior Housing Partners, and an assistant to the executive team at Sunrise Senior Living. So Ryan, thank you very much for being on the show. And we’re looking forward to this discussion.
Ryan Frederick 01:31
Yeah, my pleasure, Mike, I’m glad to connect and have this conversation with you.
Michael Hughes 01:35
Just for a reminder for everybody if we are listening to this. You know, around September of 220 23, our annual Ruth Frost Parker Center symposium will be held the first week of October and the topic for this year is ending ageism. But if you’re listening to this, at some point in the future, our Ruth frost Parker Center is a terrific resource at our thought leadership center at United Church homes for abundant aging, and on the topic of addressing ageism and ageist beliefs, so please check them out and know that our annual symposium happens every October of every year. So Ryan, I always like to start out these discussions just by I mean, you know, there was so much in that biography, I was like sort of absorbing it while I was reading it, so sorry, to the listeners for stumbling over that, but I was just, you know, really just enjoying taking a look at it. But obviously, then you could be doing a lot with your career, you could be doing a lot with Thought Leadership. How did you choose the world of aging, and aging? Innovation?
Ryan Frederick 02:35
Yeah, I, in the light of time, I’ll give you the abridged version, Mike. But the shorter version was I was trained as an electrical engineer in college and worked in Silicon Valley for a couple of startups of one of which went public, and it was a crazy growth time. And I thought, oh, goodness, this, this business thing is pretty easy. But then we have an ethical scandal in this company. And actually about five people went to jail around the same time as Enron, several for insider trading, but several really were fraudulent sales contracts. And so I went to business school at Stanford, and I took a step back and I said, What do I want to do with my life? Where do I want to really find opportunities that link my head in my heart. And I was close to my grandparents growing up, I was mentored by a sixth grade English teacher of mine who took our class to a local assisted living community. This is in Northern California. And I got to be buddies, with a woman named Mel Rowling’s. And we kept meeting through not to sixth grade, but seventh and eighth grade and really kind of put on my heart, the fact that one of the mega trends over my lifetime, our lifetime is just people living longer. And at that time, it was about 20 years ago. Now, not many people were thinking about this, certainly, as compared to today. And very few people really, on the innovation side of it, how can we do this better? How can we build better products, create better experiences, inspire people to do more? And yeah, so for me, it was pretty intentional. And I started living by a summer internship, where I lived actually in a senior living community outside of Atlanta for a month, and my wife elected to not join me. So I was supervised, only male only people under 75, and my wing, and a lot of funny stories, but it really inspired me to see why this is impactful, and also can be better. And so that has led me now to this path of writing and speaking strategy, consulting, creating new products. It’s really been a joy for me.
Michael Hughes 04:47
It is always interesting for me to ask us that question. Because, you know, I mean, people sort of come into aging and aging innovation from as you’ve just demonstrated from all walks of life now. I mean, that’s such an interesting story, how you’ve sort of seen In the cutthroat world of business, you’ve seen you know, what’s ethical and what’s not. And then you’ve really chosen to focus on using those skills, you know, into something that’s very purposeful for you. And a lot of people will talk about these personal relationships they’ve had. And, you know, you also kind of repeat a talking point that I like to say that really, when you’re looking at future market demand in this world right now, the only two things that I can think about with certainty are, you know, the age wave and climate change. And, you know, the age wave is a little bit of a selfish move, I think, you know, because it’s our future ourselves, as well as also being responsible with climate is it’s our future ourselves. But it’s almost like, you know, we have this big pig in Python, don’t we, we have this sort of, I don’t know, if I just get more and more aware of just how big the baby boomer cohort is. I mean, when you’re taking a look at the people that are in their 80s and 90s. Now and you take a look at the people that are just coming into it, I mean, we’ve got a, we’ve got a big scalability thing going on are issued only we do I,
Ryan Frederick 06:01
For my book, Johns Hopkins is the publisher. And it’s my first book. I studied engineering, devoid of reading and writing. So there’s a lot of irony in this. But they said, it’s really helpful if you’re, you know, if your books are in good shape before they get to us. I hired my daughter, who was a freshman in college at the time. She was a sophomore in high school. I hired her and she’s good, really good. She kept reading, writing, and I said, go make the pages bleed. And she did. I thoroughly enjoyed correcting her dad’s work. process. One of the things that happened was as a field as a senior living field, understandably, there’s a lot of talk about, about baby boomers and to your point, the size of them, and the way that they think differently. And their investment and financial capabilities are good and bad. But the broad narrative is of course much more than that. It’s my daughter’s generation. It’s her kids, you know, we’re in so and we’re rewriting this narrative around, like living longer. And it’s not just while the baby boomers may be taking the headlines in different circles, it has pretty wild ramifications for what does it mean to pick up my daughter for a second? What you know, if you’re a freshman in college, what does it look like? If there’s a decent chance you might live to 100? What do you think about the different stages in life? What do you think about the place, which is, of course, something we’re about to dive into here today? So yeah, I’m with you. I’m looking for the same glasses in this, I can’t think right now of a more interesting, more impactful, more global, mega trend for which we have opportunities to make an enormous difference as part of this. So I’m just grateful to be part of this narrative.
Michael Hughes 07:57
And I’ll tell you something, Ryan, it seems like you know, just to that same point, in terms of, you know, funds and people that are willing to take a look and invest in solutions and aging, new, interesting, innovative solutions and aging, you know, we’ve ever looked back at 10 years ago, you know, you see you could see tumbleweeds, you know, blowing through investor camps. And now we see what we have more and more. We just seem like even major corporations are kind of taking a closer look at this. And I was very pleased. And again, we’re filming this recording this September of 2023. Last week, I went to the first ever H tech collaborative sort of conference that AARP puts on its AARP is innovation arm, and it’s a mix of startups in the space new in, you know, they’ve got a terrific sort of structure for looking at startups in the space and giving them their their promotion, I think it’s great, but also just the companies that were there. You know, you take a look at that, at least in September, you know, General Mills showed up this time, you know, we have, you have Prudential John Hancock, and Long Term Care Insurance space, you’ve got Ford Motor, you’ve got, you know, Samsung, you’ve got all of these companies that are now sort of being part of this community. And I don’t think it’s for, you know, just for charitable reasons, right. So, you know, and, and that means we have to kind of listen a lot closer to really the intended demands of people as they age. And I’m sort of wanting to build a bridge here into the topic we’re talking about today, because you are an expert on place, you know, you know, where we choose to age. And I think that where we choose to age has a lot of different things to unpack. I mean, there’s safety, there’s convenience, there’s community, there’s all those things. And it’s almost like a default that we say that, you know, when people say what do they want to do as they age? Well, I want to age in my own home. I want to age in my own home for as long as they want, and all of that, but, you know, it almost seems like that’s just kind of the default and we just assume that is the correct answer. But that’s not that’s not the only thing that’s I don’t know if that’s the right way to look at things. I mean, whatever. How do you feel about it?
Ryan Frederick 10:00
Yeah. Why don’t punchline before I address that one piece I want to mention back to your point of this the global it’s on the radar screen now of so many organizations this piece in, in my book Right Place Right Time I had a, there is a self assessment in there evaluate Are you in the right place, and which we’ll talk about in a moment that I then took that online to my company here, each era, the websites here DOT life that’s been taken by 1000s of people and Mike, it’s people on every continent, now I’ve taken it, except for Africa and Antarctica. So I’m guessing it’ll be a matter of time before people from Africa, I’m not sure Antarctica will be getting to me, right. So never say never. But you know, there was never, but this is it reinforces the fact that this is these topics. It’s not, it’s much broader than the US. And other places can learn from us. And we can learn from other places, that your point about place and aging, I a few, I guess a series of observations and life experiences, I kind of came to this conclusion that as a society, and also at an individual level, we don’t give place as much weight as we should. And when I say let me unpack that for a second, when I say place, I don’t just mean like your four walls, which is often what we think about my house or my condo, my apartment. It’s more that that’s true. That’s definitely an important part of it. But it’s also what blocks you live in what neighborhood, what metropolitan area you are, suburban, urban, rural, which state, what region of the country, what country, what region of the world, all of these things. It’s a composite that makes up your lived experience. You might love your four walls, but find out that you don’t know your neighbors anymore. Or you might find that the direction of the fiscal health of your county, your state isn’t what it once was. And that gives you concern about your four walls, or you might realize that you don’t love your house and don’t love you. The way you do. It does it for you. And as his Bill Thomas, a friend, you know, alternatives so on is he’s pointed out, and you might find I want to stay in my neighborhood. But actually, I need to change, change places, and so on. So you’ve got to unpacking what I mean by physical place is really a composite of those different layers. But then when we think about successful aging, or long, healthy longevity, so much of it’s determined by our lifestyle decisions and our environment. So it’s about purpose, but social connections, both physical well being it’s about being financially well, but it’s also about a place that meets your physical, mental and psychological needs. And because that’s the good news. By most accounts, researchers tell us our DNA, especially at midlife and beyond, only accounts for about 20% of our longevity. So we can have agency in this. And that’s why I believe, sometimes a place gets overlooked, because places change, as do people. And back to your point about climate change, you know, you might have. I was just earlier today on a zoom with a group on the West Coast. And they’ve had an incident now we’re you know, wildfires are a bigger issue. And that raises some concerns about safety, also about just the air quality. And so places are changing. That’s an obvious one, but you have inflationary conditions, you have cultural change, a bunch of things that change place. So if you’ve been sober for 20 years, if you say you moved into a place 20 years ago, it’s different today, and if you look forward to it, it’s going to be different. But then also you change your preferences, your needs, what you value if it’s not you do but so does your spouse or partner. And it may mean that you prefer a different space or prefer a different lifestyle. And so a lot of what I see the fundamental point in this mic is that I believe there’s an opportunity for at the individual level, to on a regular basis, calibrate whether you’re in the right place at the right time, by the way, that’s the book focuses on the second half of life, but that calibration is really relevant throughout your entire lifetime, where you choose to go to adult lifetime. Choose where to go to college, your first place to work where you want to raise kids, the average adult movies, does at least a dozen times, but also has important implications for your audience in our field, which is how can we create great places so that more people can say you know What? Actually, that’s the place I want to thrive in my next chapter. And the more that we can do that in a thoughtfully compelling way, I think the more likely more people may not just find themselves. Oh, my gosh, I have to do this. No, actually, this is the right place for you to thrive and at the same point in time recognize maybe some of the gaps that they may find just focusing on the Aging in Place lens, they may say, you know, if I’m honest with myself, this place is not what it once was, it’s and then look to what my needs and preferences are, it really doesn’t meet them now and may not meet him in the future as well.
Michael Hughes 15:39
You know, what, what’s going through my mind right now, Ryan is just a sense of need and want, right? So if you ask people what they want in the future, they will say, Well, I want to age at home, and then it becomes this anchor there, where it’s more like, what do you need? Or more importantly, what do you value, and that’s looking at the place, maybe it’s just in terms of the things that you value, and the things that you need. And when you think about it, your home, you love your home, but your home? Is does job for you, right? It does jobs for you. And if it no longer does these jobs from what you need, and what you value, then an assessment like yours, like the one I’ve been here DOT life, I believe is what you said is, you know, can be an incredibly useful tool. You know, I recall it that, you know, when we look at, you know, sales cycles, in terms of what we need and what we want, right, what we need is things like homecare services, things like memory care, things like skilled nursing beds, those are really short term needs, something’s happened, we gotta get this in now. Boom, when it comes to making a choice to move inland to let’s say, a H 55 Plus community or any sorts of other communities, you know, the crops, the sales cycle is much, much longer, it’s yours. But then when people move into those communities, a lot of what we hear is, I wish I would have made this choice earlier. And I wish I would have gotten here earlier. And I ask, ” Has that been your experience as well?
Ryan Frederick 17:14
Well, I would say, on the sales cycle piece, I would say it depends, Mike, because one of things that, as I mentioned, some of the strategy work that here does. It’s a wide range of groups, and some of those groups are in the active adult space and active all for this purpose like Rental Communities. And in a rental 55 Plus community, where there may be some pent up demand. There can be, you know, a sales cycle for sure. But I do know that you’re seeing places where that sales cycle may not be as long as you might find in a traditional life plan community. Because there, there’s a pull factor that happens. And I’ll get in light of the recent loss of Jimmy Buffett will elevate Margaritaville for a second. But Margaritaville, I think there’s something to be learned there where they’ve got a waiting list. It seems like it has been measured in years now for their communities in South Carolina, I think in Florida as well and they have plans to build one in Texas and some other places. People are saying that’s a lifestyle that I want to be part of. That’s a cohort I want to be part of. I’m not suggesting that either of us are paired heads or much of your audience may or may not be but this idea, the more that there can be a pull factor. When I say pull it means I want to be there, the more likely you do two things. One, you accelerate the sales cycle. The other thing you do is you also expand your market. Because you’re going to have people that will naturally be purely for life plan communities and purchasing your housing that will need to recognize the value of a continuum of care or having the ability to freshen healthcare as needed. But if you haven’t asked, I would describe it as the push back to okay, I’m feeling like being pushed in now. Whereas if you have this pull factor, oh my gosh, this really is a place to thrive. And so I do think that if more people find it difficult, it’s hard. But as more people lean into, oh my gosh, I might I’m 65 and I might live another 35 years. What chapters do I want to look like? Then I think you start to raise some questions about whether my current dwelling is the right one for me. And by the way, I’m not advocating that anyone should move. I’m not saying what I am advocating is being thoughtful about what’s right for you. And I do a fair amount of keynote speaking. There’s a video I use for some of it very, it’s a German company that put it together. But it talks about in a very powerful way the power of purpose in people’s lives. And it talks about this, it shows this gentleman who lifts his because presumably the 70s, he’s lifting kettlebells, he’s doing squats. And his neighbors are alarmed about how he might hurt himself. Right, but, but he actually has a deep purpose related to family for do this, I won’t spoil the punch line,
Michael Hughes 20:30
Well, you know, and for listeners, let’s run, if you want to send that to us, after we record, we’ll put that in the comments of our department into video and all that, and we’ll get it, we’ll get there. But you know, and that’s unlocking this thing of a purpose. You know, that’s, you know, you mentioned Margaritaville, and what I jotted down here, now, people want this lifestyle, not just a place to live. And when I look at a lot of senior living operators, you know, with their marketing, I really can’t tell one from the other, right, it’s all kind of just the same as all, you know, best practice, you know, it’s, it’s kind of false. But it’s all kind of the same types of photographs, it’s the same types of copy, you know, and it just, it sort of selling just the concept that there’s a senior living community versus that particular one, because they’re all going to have happy photos of residents, and maybe you know, it, and things like that. But, you know, when I reflect on what you’ve just been talking and on your origin story, where we opened up with, it seems like, we know that the mood, the choice of moving from one place to the other, may be dependent on how much your identity is wrapped up in your home and what the home means to you. Like, you know, I have my hobbies, here, I have that old car in my garage that I love and things like that. But then it’s also that sense of purpose. So if the dynamism is kind of changing, will I lose my identity? Will I have a purpose? You know, those play a lot into those choices? Right?
Ryan Frederick 21:54
Hugely, I think you got two threads on this mic, you got a thread where people, like, look around and say, Oh, my gosh, this, whatever dwelling on man, it’s not right for me right now. And that can be more visceral, like I’m done. Like, for people in the second half of life, mowing the lawn, I’m done and trying to fix the next project that happens. That’s right, I see that as more tactical. And then but that can drive a change. And then there’s another piece, which I think is a little bit deeper, which says, Okay, I know that where I plant myself, shapes, my social networks, it shapes my sense of purpose, because people that have a shared purpose to me, I’m more likely to, to follow up on that, for example, let’s suppose a part of your purpose is being engaged in like a church community, just use, you know, one example. Well, if you’re in a place where you’re not part of a vibrant church, for example, that’s going to be hard for you to gauge commute, but also find purpose with volunteering efforts that are part of that. So there’s this other elements, I just recognize, what why place is one of if not the most important decision you make in your life, and you make it like many times because you make it explicitly when you move, right, but you make it implicitly when you don’t move in some of those decisions also mean that it means that it’s not just your place, but also how you choose to engage in your place. So the brand of my company here, each era, has a dual meaning. It has this idea of like, have you found your place? Oh, it’s here, this is it. This is where X marks the spot. This one, that’s an important piece as the more obvious definition of it. But the other piece is arguably just as important. That’s this idea of presence. Are you here with me, Mike, you engage, you focus on this. And so you might find yourself even in the right place. But if you’re not present in your place, if you’re not understanding the ways in which you can make your place be all that it can be, then too, you’re losing out on the potential around it. So I think there’s a lot to unpack, and I think it has a meaningful influence as individuals think this through, but oh my gosh, there’s so much opportunity for providers to say, Hey, are you in the senior living business? Or are you in the business of creating great places that unlock the potential for people to thrive in this stage of life that they’re in?
Michael Hughes 24:30
I want to get into that a little bit more Ryan, because, you know, I would love to get your insights on who’s doing well or, or things that you’ve seen out there that you think are particularly striking. And I really love the idea of just kind of unpacking, are we seeing your living or are we providing, you know, what are we really providing, right? So, I mean, for instance, I’ve heard of one community that has a waiting list right as long as your arm because they require volunteerism, as part of the contract. for living in that community, you know, and I think there’s education, but we What are you seeing out there that really strikes you?
Ryan Frederick 25:06
There’s an interesting moment happening right now, Mike. And at this moment, a number of these trends are happening before the pandemic. But they’ve continued on throughout. And now we’re on the other side of at least certainly that peak pandemic. Not to say that COVID isn’t still with us. I think what’s happening is a number of people will be spending time alone going back a decade ago, on average, across ages, ethnicities, income levels, some research has shown that people spend on average about 10 hours more alone, than they did 10 years ago. And that is, we’re still kind of getting the bottom of it. How much of it is social media, how much of it is streaming on Netflix, I’m not certain. But in general, there’s a difference between kind of solitude and recharging the batteries, which is valuable versus a sense of disconnection that happens through lifestyle. So when I’m spending 10 hours more alone, it not just impacts me, but it impacts I’m not seeing Mike often because of that lifestyle decision that we have. And this is again, it’s crossing a number across our society at large. And so I’m seeing in some circles, now it’s raising questions around, like, what does commitment mean? What does it mean, you know, to be a member? It means to be a member of a church or golf club of your broader community of senior living community? You know, part of your example that you went through moments ago was, the Auntie has raised, I know, there’s, like LaSalle University in the northeast, they people move in there, they actually they’re obligated to take classes. It’s like, there’s expectation that comes with it, they’ve done quite well in Doyle, if you haven’t had her on the show, I think would be a good guest for you. But it’s it but you have these ideas of like, wait a second, we’re, the world’s changed in different ways are the social tissues of our community has changed the social fabric you see a number of sociologists talk a bit about this in some detail. What are the ramifications for CO living providers? And so I think there’s one of the big ones, which I talk a fair amount about, which was some of the clients I work with. We spend some time talking about this idea of empowerment. And empowerment is cultural, although it can be reinforced with the design. I think Jill vitality, awesome, wrote a book around the time of mine a couple years ago, and she’s an Executive leader in the not for profit, Senior Living domain. And she talks a lot about this as well. And it’s this idea of, to some degree, Senior Living that has grown up with this idea of being a cruise ship, we’re going to provide for you different services, it’s also been historically a very homogenous mix of people. And that’s worked for different reasons. But as we turn around, we look around the corner. And we see that it’s not as homogenous, we’ve got people from all sorts of different backgrounds, more single people, more educated people have large people with the different set of economic realities that they’re facing, where it’s less common to have the Millionaire Next Door, people living longer, we’re in a post pension environment, social security is likely to get restructured to make the economics work. It’s very different. And so, and people want to have it in general more their way not necessarily. Here’s how we do it. And so I think there’s a number of reasons why this idea of empowerment, I mean, empowerment, it means it’s not to say I’m going to do it for you. But here are the tools, what, what do you want to craft. And by the way, that’s how our lives have been pretty much our whole adult lives. So it’s consistent with how people live their lives. And so I think leaning towards a culture of empowerment, I think will is one example anyway, where I see communities being the keys to be more successful down the road, because it doesn’t say, you don’t feel like you have to check part of who you are at the door. Right to bring all of us and you are a coach, creator, curator, even of what the community is.
Michael Hughes 29:33
Yeah, you know, what I, I like to sort of give an example because, you know, I feel United Church homes, you know, are a big embrace of diversity. I believe that we firmly believe that diversity strengthens the whole and that, you know, it’s the way that I’ve explained this in the past is kind of like the traditional idea. I’m a Canadian, so I’ve been through the US immigration system, and America sort of traditionally had this idea of a melting pot. You know, where you come in and you give up your opinion I’m being maybe just a little stereotypical and excuse me, listeners, if you’re not if I’m not getting this right, but you know what I’ve heard in the past that you’re an American now, giving up your old culture, you’re embracing this new culture, here you are, right. And then in Canada, what I believe is that, you know, we have this, they have this concept called Mosaic, where, if you come to Canada, as an immigrant, you’re expected to retain a lot of these traditions and identity and things that have given you identity, because Canada is enriched by diversity, diversity strengthens as a whole. And that’s what I hope that we create, at United Church homes. But, you know, in terms of empowerment, the, you know, I think we’ve seen it for ourselves, what we’re starting to do is we’re doing that resident kind of, we call them idea thoughts. And we’ll come in, and we’ll put residents as many residents who wish to participate through the two day workshop. And as a Human Centered Design Workshop, you know, inspired by the work of AARP. And I will give residents $1,000 seed money, just to put good ideas into action and go off. And, you know, we’ve had residents start, you know, a garden program and have raised in addition, you know, 10s of 1000s of dollars additional for these garden projects, because, you know, they simply just kill it every single time when they go through these exercises. So, we hear that, but I mean, it’s, we were always kind of looking for more. And I do want to get it. I think the last topic I want to cover with you is this idea of CCRC at home, but just thinking about how we innovate at Senior Living itself. I’m just wondering if that inspires anything further from you or something? You? What crossed your mind, you know, just in this last little bit?
Ryan Frederick 31:36
Yeah, well, I think, given our shared interest and background and innovation, I think part of it, that’s a great story about how you’re empowering residents to come up with innovative ideas, and then helping them get off the ground. But I think a lot of that going back to your comment earlier is around the framing. If we, if this field sees itself as Senior Living, that’s a very narrow, it’s a far narrower aperture, then how can we become partners with people to thrive over increasing longer life? Or how do we create? How can we build and activate great places for people to thrive? Over increasingly long life, that’s a different framing, and it allows you to think much more broadly, about ideas in products and services and cultural ethos and technologies that can further people embracing all that a longer life means. And fundamentally, for a moment, longer life isn’t necessarily better life. In fact, Genesis is one of the largest skilled nursing platforms companies. Years ago, I was in a meeting with him, and they did some consumer research, and they found that people feared skilled nursing worse than they did death itself. And it was a reminder that it’s not just lifespan, it’s managing to, and trying to optimize for an equally long wealth span. So how long are you healthy, and then also a WellSpan, an equally long place where you can afford, you know, a life that you’re excited about. So that the intersection of lifespan healthspan and WellSpan doesn’t happen by accident. Good fortune certainly helps. But there’s a lot you can do and take agency in this. So I think, to the extent that St. Living providers can have this broader aperture, and recognize that elevate, like we’re talking about, like place matters, like, hey, sure, you might care about your diet, your diet matters and exercise. But if you get placed, right, it helps all these things, you know, in a better way having a direct and indirect piece like it literally is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. So the more that I think senior leading Senior Living projects can embrace that reality. Educate people, you know, back to the theme of your route frost Parker symposium coming up around ageism, we gotta be careful. I mean, people are just ageists against themselves. Now, there’s something called the U shaped happiness curve, which has been proven globally. And there people are certain of the happiness level in their 20s and then it kind of dips down until their late 40s, early 50s. In the US, I like to think there is some correlation to teenagers in the house. And then it shoots out, you know, and then in your 70s and 80s, your self reported well being is greater than it’s ever been, like, that’s a narrative that most people don’t know. Its employees can help dictate that. So there’s there I see tremendous opportunity, you know, here and then one other piece of related just innovation how to think about it is you get the blue ocean red ocean dynamic. And if we’re in markets, we’re just like you said earlier, Mike, we’re kind of looking the same. Stock pictures there. Our mission states Mr are the same. It can be a lot for people to understand what the differences are, and you end up really competing with each other in certain ways. And that’s a red ocean. And so the penetration rate, the number of people age and income qualified to move in, you know, it’s gone down over time in this field. And so if there’s any way in which that penetration rate can actually grow, while the population is growing up, that is an exciting place for business models, but also an exciting place for sustainability and impact.
Michael Hughes 35:37
Yeah, and then this is where we’re going to kind of pop quiz you a little bit here, Ryan, because, you know, we both familiar with, you know, Senior Living advancements and senior living places created for people that, you know, these things that we recognize and want to foster and want to, you know, you know, but you know, we have people who will prefer age at home, you have people that may not be able to live on maybe the valley, you know, there are a lot of older values tied up in the home, there’s a lot going on there. So, and then we have this concept of CRC at home. So if you were, here’s the pop quiz, if you were to design a CRC at Home program, what would the elements be of that program? And then what would you call it?
Ryan Frederick 36:18
Okay, so for listeners who this is indeed a pop quiz, so I would like our address. Now, this is good, this is fantastic. What I would do is, I would double back and say, did your first I’ll enter your second question first. And that definitely wouldn’t be called CCRC. At home. And just to
Michael Hughes 36:38
point out CCRC, listeners are continuing care retirement communities, I’m so sorry.
Ryan Frederick 36:43
But to put an exclamation on a word mark on that, that is that’s and but I’m not trying to critique those that created it, I think it’s a concept very important, which we’ll get into. But as a brand, what it does is it’s taking the mindset of senior living, using a fairly abstract and esoteric terms and CCRC, and then applying it in this broader consumer fields where it takes you live or want to bring it back home, as opposed to understand the mindset and psychographics of the consumer. So it certainly wouldn’t call it CCRC. At home. I think I could imagine it being more about you know, focusing more on human flourishing, like thriving, I’m not even sure I’d have it at home be part of it. I’d like to introduce this conversation, and to say, Well, yeah, this way of thinking this modality can change depending on what your preferences and affordability is, on the idea of what does it actually look like? Well, since we’re brainstorming is pop quiz, I would start with an honest self assessment and third party assessment to say, Okay, are you in your current four walls, because that’s how we’re defining it, to what degree are you really set up to succeed to thrive, not just now, but you know, in a three to five year period. And just because it’s your personal preference, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something that your doctor or your financial advisor, or other advisors, family would say is the right thing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. But it’s helpful to have a really good gauge of reality around you. And I think if I were to create a program like this, you would be in a relationship to like a wide variety of product and price point options. So it’s not just your currency, single family home and the suburbs you’ve been living in for 30 years, or it’s in your living, it could be apartments nearby, it could be age restricted apartments nearby, it could be at us that we have relationships with you could be part of, you know, so it’s you actually have a menu of options that help you stay in your broader sense of community. Now, it’s going to require scale. Because as you have one of the one of the one of the reasons why you see your living while expensive, you can provide what it does at certain prices. You get the benefit of scale that you can deliver food, different services, when things are scattered about the broader market. That is that’s harder, you know, to deliver in both a proactive or reactive setting. Clearly, you have to lean a lot more on technology, wearables as part of it, probably smart scales and so on things that allow some sense of some dashboard of your life as greater connectivity to your primary care doc. To get a sense of this, you know, you just really are you we helping you thrive the way we get this the idea of a self assessment wouldn’t be a one time thing it’d be something you do on a regular basis Am I really am I where I should be and then particularly with, with a prolific proliferation over time, with AI, and so on being able to anticipate when When you might need to have certain services delivered to you or are actually moving to a better setting couldn’t be better. So I don’t see, as I see, technology being important, skill being important, branding being important, but really having it be centered around helping that individual or a couple thrive. This current and future chapters of
Michael Hughes 40:24
our lives. Now that word thrive is so important at an age. And if you think about that, that that sort of philosophy, you can think in the U shaped curve, you talked about maybe even just applying at other points in our lives will raise that, that dip up a little bit, you know, and so that’s right, Ryan, I mean, I can unpack a lot more here. I mean, we’ll have maybe we’ll have you on the show again, to, you know, go into some of these a little bit deeper. But, you know, we’re gonna stop, you know, the first we always surprise people. Okay, we always like to ask people three questions about aging that we ask every single guest. So, first of all, can I do that with you? Yes, please. Okay, pop quiz. But first of all, I just want to say let’s give you an just an opportunity to to plug here DOT light for your assessment. But where can we find you? Name of the book? Yeah,
Ryan Frederick 41:13
yeah, so the books are called Right place, right time, the ultimate guide to choosing home for the second half of life. And you can find it on the here.life website. But Amazon, some local bookstores will have it as well. So that’s the actual book. As you point out, Mike, if you’re interested in the self assessment, you can find it on the here DOT life website takes a couple minutes. And then you get a graph based on the set of questions, and then some recommendations and where you are. And then one thing I’d also say, we didn’t get a chance to talk about this quite as much, Mike. But on the consumer side, as this has played out, I’ve turned the book into a workshop. And now of course, we did a beta test here in the spring that was really well received. So now offering on a more limited commercial basis, those options virtually done really helps people actually get to a plan. And then on the senior on the sea living kind of thought leadership side, on the here DOT Life website, you can find some resources there, do a fair amount of keynote speaking for groups that really want to dig into this. And as part of the core strategic planning process that’s really helping organizations, I don’t believe you can do strategic planning in a weekend, I believe. You right, got to dig in, you got to be rigorous about it. It’s a longer process, but it can really be transformative. So if any of your listeners are in organizations where That’s where they find themselves happy to connect with, they can reach me at Ryan ROI at Hadapt here DOT life. Again, the best ways to get a
Michael Hughes 42:51
hold of me. All right, Ryan out here DOT life. Thank you very much. Okay, question number one for you. When you think right, when you think about how you’ve aged, what do you think has changed about you or grown with you that you really like about yourself?
Ryan Frederick 43:05
I would say that I probably have two things in particular, Mike, you know, I’m an entrepreneur, the way this has unfolded, but my entrepreneurship journey has really been fueled by my passion for wanting to make a difference. And, but I’m not an entrepreneur, like if I took those classes in high school, college afterwards. Like it, that’s not really who I am. And part of it was my appetite for taking risks. And I would say that, as I’ve gotten older, maybe I’ve gotten more foolish, but I’ve also gotten more courageous. And so I valued it. The fact that you know, you can fall down, and you can pick yourself up. And there’s ideas that you have that can make a difference and to be able to share those with others. And be committed to that cause. I don’t think I necessarily saw the world as being as big an opportunity for making an impact when I was younger. That’s interrupt, Dan. Yep. I’ve been called a combination of courage. And then the ability to see the impact that’s learned over time.
Michael Hughes 44:21
Yeah. And look, I mean, there’s, there’s a reason why most new businesses are started by people in their 40s and their 50s and things like that. I don’t presume your age service. I mean, there’s been something to say, that’s very interesting. Okay, question number two,
Ryan Frederick 44:33
your car did the other day but I’m not. I’m older.
Michael Hughes 44:36
Alright. Okay. Okay, question number two. What surprised you the most about what has surprised you most about you, as you’ve aged?
Ryan Frederick 44:49
When? When my wife and I got married a little over 21 years ago, our premiere marital pastor counseling as we’re getting married, he said, you and your wife will completely change every five years. I’m like, That is ridiculous. Like, there’s no way you can really change over five years. And it’s sure his comment was exaggerated to prove a point. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that my core values have changed that Unbeliev they have. But how I see the world has changed. And even this conversation we’re having right now, when I was applying to college, or business school, or whatever, I would never have imagined I’d be having this conversation right out doing what I’m doing. And so I think what has surprised me is the degree of change and growth that’s possible. And then when you layer in the fact that we’re living longer going back to my daughter, and you know, kids born today in developed countries are expected to live to at least 250% of them. Like it’s it really is this like, oh my gosh, this, like Choose Your Own Adventure piece that you literally have very different chapters. You know, the Laura Carstensen at Stanford, I think she’s been Stanford Center longevity, she’s been pre expressive around. It used to be this narrative of learn or retire. And now Oh, my gosh, we have all these chapters. And we think we can mix around. We can go back to school to be a nurse, and she’s in her 40s. So well, yeah, I think that’s been a big surprise to me. Is it that you have these different chapters, and you have these things that maybe turned on and excited you that you would have never anticipated when you were younger?
Michael Hughes 46:42
That is very cool. Very cool. All right. Third question. Last question. Is there someone that you’ve met, or been in your life that has set a good example for you in aging, you know, someone that has inspired you to eat what we call what we say age with abundance?
Ryan Frederick 46:58
Yeah, so I have a good friend, a mentor, his name is Fred Smith. And he lives in Austin, Texas, and he lives a bit north, in a place called the Greater Dallas area. He wouldn’t appreciate that, but I call it Greater Dallas. Okay. And what I’ve really appreciated about my friend Fred, and he’s in his 70s, is that he’s abundantly curious. And that Curiosity has enabled him to forge contacts, friendships, relationships with people, across generations, across geographies. He reads, he writes, he really he’s always learning and open to debating topics, I don’t think he can actually give strategy. It’s just desert in terms of its impact on organizations. That’s another topic. But it’s interesting to see people that are striving for growth and learning, and also relationship building. And I see that in Fred and I, I admired him.
Michael Hughes 48:12
terrific story. Well, Ryan, thank you very much for being a guest on the art of aging. And thank you very much for answering the questions. Fascinating discussion, I could talk all day with you. But most importantly, thank you, our listeners, thank you for listening to this episode of The Art of aging, which is part of the abundant aging podcast series from United Church homes. And we want to hear from you. How do you define a place? What jobs do you think you’re the place where you live? Is it doing for you right now? Is it doing those jobs? Well, what do you think of your life? Does your life have chapters? Is this something that resonates with you? Let us know come to the abundant aging podcast.com. That’s our website, you can find this podcast and all of our others. You can find us at YouTube, under United Church homes. And of course, I encourage you to check Ryan Ryan out at here.life where you can get his contact details and importantly, start taking your own livability assessment and really understand what the place means to you. You can visit us more about the Ruth Ross Parker center, visit us at UnitedChurchhomes.org/sorry backslash Stryker hyphen, center. And again, show ideas, suggestions, complaints, anything abundant agent podcast.com Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.