Robotics & Dementia Care, Marketing Best Practices, and More

with Steve Cone,

Chief of Communications, Marketing, and Philanthropy at Capital Caring

This week on the Art of Aging, host Michael Hughes chats with Steve Cone, a pioneer in marketing, PR, and brand management and current Chief of Communications, Marketing, and Philanthropy at Capital Caring. During the conversation, Mike and Steve discuss dementia care, including the use of robotics and a donation program for pets in partnership with the Veterans Administration. The conversation also touches on marketing tips, the power of jingles and taglines, and the importance of not letting age hinder happiness and more.
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Highlights from this week’s conversation include:

  • Steve’s background and journey in marketing and dementia care (1:47)
  • The importance of hospice care (3:25)
  • The role of hospice in person-centered care (4:39)
  • Dementia care and the use of robotic pets (11:09)
  • Pets for Vets program (13:51)
  • Clinical studies on robotic pets (15:41)
  • AI in healthcare (18:51)
  • The power of taglines and slogans (28:12)
  • The influence of sound in advertising and politics (30:34)
  • Steve’s personal philosophy on aging (38:49)
  • Steve’s abundant aging hero (41:59)
  • Closing Remarks (44:10)


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



Michael Hughes 00:07
Hi everyone, welcome to the Art of Aging, which is part of the Abundant Aging podcast series from United Church Homes. On this show, we look at what it means to age in America and in other places around the world with positive, empowering conversations that challenge, encourage, and inspire everyone everywhere to age with abundance. Very excited for today’s episode, our guest is the one and only Steve Cohen. And, Steve, great to have you on the show. You know, I’m going into your background here. And just such an amazing career history. You know, see if you’re a pioneer in the world of marketing, PR, brand management, including being a founding partner of epsilon, where you’ve created or led efforts to develop many of the national loyalty programs we know today, including United mileage plus, Hyatt gold passport program sacks First or Second Avenue, you’ve held executive leadership roles at AARP, the American Bar Association, and you’re now the chief of communications, marketing and philanthropy for capital Karen, which is one of the largest palliative care and hospice organizations in the country. He’s also an author folks, he’s also a best selling author, including marketing secrets that will make you a star and powerlines words that sell brand grip fans and sometimes change history. So I’m hoping that on this, we are here really to talk about the pioneering work you’re doing in dementia care, especially with robotics, Steve, I’m hoping we can kind of slip and maybe just get some marketing tips in here for folks that are listening. So that we can start working. We can steal your ideas all over again. Right? Maybe that’s, but I’m hoping that we can get into that. Because you’ve I mean, you’ve worked with so many amazing brands, you know, you’ve worked with Hunter S Thompson for crying out loud, you know, with Rolling Stones, and Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs. Exactly. So I think that just getting a little slice of what it was like to work with those that are similar in some ways. So the first line there is going to be interesting to unpack, I think. But I do want to start with what you’re doing right now, which is just some really terrific work in hospice in palliative care. I mean, and I know that you know, you’re a guy that doesn’t look for opportunity, but you took this role. And you built this, this work, you know, app Capital Caring, so can you can you just give us a sense of where the where’s your passion coming from when we when it comes to this space?

Steve Cone 02:37
Well, when I joined Capital Caring a short five years ago, I didn’t know much about hospice, but I learned very quickly. And it dawned on me that toward the end of life, people have a stark choice. Someone who’s terminally ill and their family can either be cared for by a hospice team, most often in their home or wherever they reside. Or they can be rushed back and forth to the hospital and way too often, tragically die alone in hospital. So the option is hospice or hospitalization. And why would anyone choose hospitalization, usually being overmedicated? It’s been proven that if you enroll sooner in hospice care, the patient lives longer than they would otherwise. They’re in the setting they wanted to be in, which is the vast majority of the time at home, not in a sterile hospital room. And so I want and we want people to understand that it’s a major benefit that was created for every American citizen or otherwise, virtually free of charge, minimum of six months and more if necessary. And it’s just a tragedy that so many people that should benefit from hospice care don’t. So my passion is to change that equation. And get people not only in our service area, but across the country to understand how important it is for the patient. And also, for the family who is under more stress than the patient. Most of the time dealing with a loved one toward the end of life. Don’t have to go it alone. They shouldn’t go it alone. And there’s no reason to do that. That’s what hospice care is and why it was created.

Michael Hughes 04:33
Yeah. And you know, I’ve had the privilege of unpacking this a little bit. So United Church homes that are we’ve worked with Ohio’s hospice, you know, are now you know, affiliated with Ohio’s hospice and it just strikes me that you know, in our move to manage care, in our desire for more holistic person centered care, you know, a lot of that from a clinical experience really can be found through What hospice and palliative care does, right? I mean, the methodology about just really being person centered and supporting both the family and the patient. I mean, I can’t think of many other organizations that are thanked in obituaries, you know, and hospice seems to be like the way you make people feel, right.

Steve Cone 05:18
Yes. And then we, you know, you touched upon, I think bereavement care which we also provide when a patient dies, to the family, group settings, individual one on one counseling, it can go on for months and even years, and there’s no time limit. It’s not something we get insurance reimbursement for, we view it as our mission. And I had a woman I met who used our hospice care for her mother and her sister, who had a great life because I think a lot of people think, well, I don’t want these hospice people intruding into my the privacy of my family live in what she said was that with our hospice care, in this case, capital carryings, we were visible when we were needed, and we were invisible when we weren’t. So we weren’t intruding on their, you know, on their family time where they didn’t need us. And I think that’s an important point. I also think it’s important to understand that it really is a team. It’s it physician that several different types of nurses, typically social worker, and nondenominational Chaplain if they if they choose also, this doesn’t preclude other doctors that they have worked with, to visit them or, or faith partners, you know, whatever, religion that they have one, we’re not excluding those people from visiting the patient in the family at all. So our team is there to make the patient pain free and comfortable, and the family as stress free as possible. Those are our primary goals.

Michael Hughes 07:01
I can’t think of many other situations that cause family more stress than if a loved one is affected by Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. And, you know, I think that you certainly recognize this and you have a particular interest, I think, in dementia care, can you just share with our listeners some of the things that Capitol carrying is doing in its approach to dementia care?

Steve Cone 07:30
First of all, with the aging of the baby boomers, yours truly, I think you’re Are you? Are you too young to be a boomer? Okay, you’ll catch up to us eventually. But dementia in all forms is now the third leading cause of death, heart disease, number one, cancer number two, and dementia is gaining on those two. And dementia, we all know, is a devastating disease, especially in the later stages, whether it’s Alzheimer’s or not where the person afflicted essentially doesn’t know who they are, doesn’t know who anyone else is. At the very end, all their systems just basically shut down. And that’s why they die. But before that, and sometimes that’s many years. Sometimes it’s a period of months, it really is an individual case situation, before that hospice care targets dementia as one of the major diseases that we provide comfort and support for. And it’s very important for people to know that because a lot of people don’t think dementia is something that is hospice qualified. And it totally is. And about one out of three of our patients in hospice care or palliative care have some form of dementia. And we spend a lot of time with the family members. As well as if there are professional caregivers involved. Sometimes they are going through exactly how they can better cope with their loved one or a patient that has dementia. We just recently created a 63 page guide on caring for dementia patients, which covers absolutely everything that you would need to know including what are considered to be the precise conditions that are part of early stage, middle stage and late stage. And middle and late stage are generally hospice qualified. And so that’s just an example of something that can be very useful. And then how to deal with folks that are dementia patients that are often agitated, confused, hallucinatory. And so one of the best ways to calm them down and make them happier to really improve their daily life is, believe it or not, with what we call companion robotic pets? Yes,

Michael Hughes 10:12
absolutely no, this is definitely something I wanted to attack with you, Steve. Because of your earlier point, I think that what I’ve learned is that, you know, families that are in this situation, they really want to know what’s next, what to expect, what’s normal and what’s not. And I think that the guy that you’re talking about is gonna be a great resource. But, I mean, it just seems that you know, both, you know, for my experience, my very limited experience and your more extensive experience with this world, I’m very impressed what ageless innovation is doing with their with their joy for all robotic pets and things like that, we certainly use some, we’ve seen I sort of explained it as the, if you take this away from us, we’re gonna kill you faster in terms of the ROI here for staff, and we don’t know exactly how it works, or to what degree, but it just seems to work in terms of, for many, many people. Can you explain how you use that so you know what, and how you’ve really taken off? Oh, so,

Steve Cone 11:10
You know, we see that the vast majority of the time introducing a dog or a cat or a bird, dogs are most popular, just like they are in real life, and giving the patient something that’s theirs, not to be shared unless they want to. We all grow up either having a pet or wanting to pet pets. And in fact, the vast majority of our patients have had a pet in their past lives, often very recently, and may still have family pets, but certainly in the middle and late stages of dementia. They can’t handle a real pet, they might inadvertently harm a real pet. And so these are a wonderful substitute. And we don’t try to fool anybody. But again, the vast majority of the time, the patient thinks it’s a real pet, it responds to sight, sound and touch like Live Pets. They have heartbeats of dogs and cats. You know, the only thing they don’t know to do is move and they don’t need any kind of exceptional care. And the patient tends to name them and tends to keep them with them around the clock. And just it seems to be a kind of a pet blanket of comfort that calms them and makes them much more socially affable. And our clinical people tell me all the time that medications can be reduced very often by introducing a pet to the patient. And you probably like I might get, gosh, I get emails and letters almost every week, from family members just being saying so they’re so grateful that we provided a pet for their loved one and how it’s changed everyone’s lives for the better. So when you think about the fact that on average, we’re talking about a $150 robotic pet with some AI in it. Artificial Intelligence meaning responding to sight, sound and touch. When you think about the low cost and huge impact for the better that they have, it’s practically a miracle that we’re able to do this. Yeah, and see an amazing result.

Michael Hughes 13:41
And that’s great. And you’ve run with this idea. I think you’re running a really big donation program for these pets who I think the Veterans Administration can eat. Can you talk about that

Steve Cone 13:51
a little bit? Yeah. Yeah. I find that if you go talk to an individual who represents themselves or business or a foundation, if you show them how these pets operate, you almost always close the sale, so to speak, because people without dementia or just as a member, as dementia patients, and so I’ve we’ve been able to get fantastic donation support from individuals, businesses and foundations. And one of the outgrowths of that is a program I created called pets for vets pets for veterans that have some form of dementia. And as an example right now just happens to be in the early part of October. Coming up we are going to predict providing a bunch of dogs, cats and birds to every one of the 132 community New Living Centers run by the Veterans Administration across the country, for patients in those centers that have dementia,

Michael Hughes 15:09
that’s ending so pets. Pets for vets is the name of the program, everyone. And I mean, that’s the thing. Again, I just don’t know, you know, it unlocks something within this disease. I mean, I know that your, your, your guide, you know, you look at different parts of the brain the way that it operates. But we still, there’s still so much we don’t know. But these things seem to work, they work for me, they work for you. I’m so glad that you’re bringing in somebody else.

Steve Cone 15:41
There’s a lot of clinical studies that have been done over the past 10 years that just reinforce what you and I have been talking about. So, you know, clinician scientists, they’ve all seen this behavioral change in dementia patients, as well as generally elderly folk, who basically may not have dementia, but are lonely and isolated, and don’t have access to a real pet or can’t hear a word and can’t care for it. So that’s why and before angel innovation came along, which was a spin-off of Hasbro, the only robotic pet you could buy was $6,000. And it didn’t really look like a dog. So this has been an incredible solution. That, you know, I first learned about this group when I when you and I were AARP. And I didn’t really think about it much until I looked into it a little more when I got to Capitol caring and saw the clinical studies, one done by AARP, on how the robotic pet companion can change overnight or instantaneously, a dementia sufferer’s life. So you know, full speed ahead, that’s what I have. So this program has been gaining momentum here. For now, almost two years. And by the way, we provide the pads free of charge to anyone in our service area or beyond who requests one for a loved one. And thanks to the donations we were able to do that.

Michael Hughes 17:36
It’s amazing. So for listeners, this is capital, Karen, companion pet project. Agents, innovation is the producer of these pets. And let’s talk about where things are going, Steve, because, you know, we talk about this world of AI. We talk about there’s so much now, as we record here in late September of 23. Around where general AI is going there’s been, you know, at our Ruth Ross Parker center symposium last year, we had a focus on technology and ethics. When it comes to aging, and just a plug for the annual reframes prepper symposium this year on October 6, of 2023. With our focus on ending ageism, when we’re talking about this TV, sort of get into this sort of, you know, column response on ethics about how real is to real about you know, what, what these next, you know, what are the personification was not a pet, but with a person, you know, what is that? Where do you see this going? Have you? Have you formed an opinion yet on where this lands for you? Or is it just you keeping an eye on it? And, you know, the next time something is presented to you then

Steve Cone 18:49
How are you preparing for that? Well, you know, I think AI can make interactions with the medical community more seamless. And more accurate. You know, this is not a new concept. I mean, a bunch of years ago, IBM’s Watson machine was being talked about as really the new wave of doing diagnostics on, on figuring out what people are really suffering from and coming up with solutions. I frankly, don’t know where that’s gone. But I think the concept was correct, that any super duper computer can look at billions of possibilities and an instant and figure out what might be the best solution for this particular patient, right, which a doctor, doctors, scientists and so forth can decide if that makes sense or not, but the equations can be done You know, in very rapid form, essentially a second opinion, right. And I think that’s a real positive heart of what AI should provide. Going forward. And, you know, you’re told all the time you want to you, you should get a second opinion if you have a serious disease. So here’s a way to get it. And with a computer brain, in addition to a human brain, so that’s how I said, I don’t see, Karen for dementia patients being much different in terms of their daily life routine, I think the robotic pets for instance, eventually will be able to alert the caregiver if they send stress in the patient. And that may be a new feature in another year or two. The agency’s innovation got a grant from NIH to explore that as an added feature, and I know they’re working on it.

Michael Hughes 21:11
Yeah, and in the whole world of voice analytics, sound analytics. And in that is kind of a there are,

Steve Cone 21:19
there are all kinds of AI type companies, you know, I don’t remember the name of this one. But for instance, there’s one that if a person has a stroke, they’re not able to speak and understand language. There’s a device now that can translate, but essentially, they’re gibberish into sentences that their loved ones, doctors and so forth can understand. Pretty, pretty amazing. So that’s an example of how the new technology world can really be helpful. And in this case, with a stroke victim,

Michael Hughes 22:02
yeah. And I even saw things like, you know, everyone seems to have an Apple watch these days and the biometric and all those Yeah, they’re all there. I mean, I saw something at the AARP H decK collaborative the other week and shouted out to the AARP H decK collaborative. But they had one startup that was using the Apple Watch or Garmin or a wearable to track Parkinson’s tremors and trend analysis to see, you know, does it happen after meals or change of meds or things like that? So it just seems like we’re gonna have more and more data. The The other thing that strikes me about AI, and I’m hoping that we’re gonna get Victor Wang from care doc coach on this, as he says something great the other week at the AARP event, that when you’re looking at geriatrics, we’re looking at you know, if I’m a cardiologist cardiologists know everything about the heart geriatrics, it’s kind of knowing everything about complexity, right, and and AI can be can be useful in making sense, taking complex things, and maybe organizing and helping us make sense out of that. So that kind of struck me. And of

Steve Cone 23:09
Of course, robotics are big in operating rooms today, and have been for quite a while. And for very delicate surgeries, brain surgery, eye surgery. And so, you know, that’s sort of taken for granted these days. All right.

Michael Hughes 23:26
I think so. Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Cone 23:29
And which is good.

Michael Hughes 23:32
Steve, I want to switch . I want to talk marketing with you for a second. I always wanted to talk more, I just have full disclosure, guys. I used to work for Steve. Twice, at Surescripts. I’ve worked with him at AARP. You know, we both come from a marketing discipline. And, you know, I’ve always wanted to kind of ask a few questions about some of the things you’ve done. But before we do that, you know, called away you know, where should people find you? Where should people find the your robotics pets

Steve Cone 24:01
program? Well, the easiest thing to do is just go to the capital, pets, and everything they want to know is their capital pets. I also have pets for vets. Capitol for vets. So those two URLs will drive people to everything they want to know about the pet program, how they can order a pet, if they want, how they can donate a pet, for both. And for which program, whether it’s for vets or just people in general or for terminally ill children. But we also provide a

Michael Hughes 24:45
pet sport. Absolutely. Absolutely. So for listeners, we’re going to drop those into our descriptions of this episode when we put this on YouTube and the other so you guys will have a chance to link directly but as a reminder, capital helps Capitol for vets. So, Steve, I brought my books with me to steal these ideas, the old one. That’s the old one, but it’s my copy. And then powerlifting. One is version one. What drove you to put all this stuff down on paper? And he must mean, how did you? How did you do?

Steve Cone 25:26
Well, I had two different reasons for the first book. So I have been, you know, my whole marketing career. I’m just irritated with the fact that people don’t understand the fundamental principles of marketing, regardless of what technology is up to you, you still have to convince a consumer to do something. And how do you make a compelling offer, and they’re really only three ways. You have to use excitement, visual, or sensory or both. You’ve got to keep the pitch pretty simple and real and have real news value, something they wouldn’t know otherwise. So exciting news, and then a compelling call to action. Those three things I call marketing’s e n, e n a instead of DNA. And that’s what I talk a lot about in that book, steal these ideas. And I also talk about just basic stuff that I sometimes say, some outrageous things like all art directors should be shot, because they create stuff that no one can read. The types are too small, why would you use wipe reverse body copy? Why would you ever use sans serif type, which is 10 times harder to read than serif type? And, you know, so I just was agitated for years about why people don’t understand these basic marketing facts. And I was collecting a lot of data to do a book, and I kept it all in my office at Seven World Trade Center. And then when 911 hit, and eventually my building disappeared. I was in a funk for a while because I had all this accumulated, you know, slides, articles that I had saved, and all this stuff, that was going to be the basis for my first book. But then finally, I decided, you know, I don’t need any of that stuff. It’s all up here. And so I just sat down and wrote the book, which was like it came in 2000, the one year showing came out in 2005 2006. Then I got another bug in my brain about a couple of years later about how awful taglines had become, and companies walking away from grade lines that they should have kept forever. And very few companies understand that and I don’t care what size company from small to large, also how powerful jingles can be. And which is turned into a lost art for most large companies anyway. And so I decided I was gonna do something about it and write down what makes a great tagline and slogan in the political world. And why you should never change a great line, which all these supposedly, marketing genius driven companies have not figured out. Because at the end of the day, a tagline is a brand promise that the consumer doesn’t want to have to see changing all the time. And it’s pretty remarkable. What most people remember are tags are just fantastic tag lines that were dropped for no other reason other than boredom in the C suite. And all the current tag lines that have placed them have no traction. And that’s with a lot of major companies like Coca Cola, like American Express, like Federal Express, who should have never changed the lines that put them on the map in the first place.

Michael Hughes 29:26
And we can still remember those lines, you can still remember Coke is it we can still go on without driving a machine. You know, it’s all

Steve Cone 29:39
BMW, one of the few companies that has never changed their brand promise. So 65 years later, they’re still using the ultimate driving machine. Right and and that’s rarity, but it’s the right thing to do. Because while the C suite folks and the chief marketing officer might be bored with hat We keep saying the same brand promise the consumer isn’t because the consumer only thinks about you occasionally, when they cheat. Now I want to buy a car or now I want to get a six pack of coke or whatever. But you’re not top of mind with them. 24/7 only, you know, only because you work at the place that you think about it all the time. You know, ge, ge is another example, which should have never left us to bring good things to light. And what’s their tagline today? No one knows. They use some really strange ones. And all this recently,

Michael Hughes 30:34
It’s weird how subliminal this can be. Right? We see these cities are artifacts that once you create advertising, once you create newspapers, magazines, these are all artifacts out in the world. And these are all things that we see continuously throughout our lives, right? So we associate, we bring the great at least me and Gen X and baby, we bring good things to life for GE, you know, it’s still relevant, they still bring good things to life. It’s just it’s just that you’re giving up all that equity that you built over the past, right? You know, I feel the same way around cereal boxes when they change the graphics. And they put that thing up there saying new, it’s like, Hey, everybody. No, it just doesn’t seem to track.

Steve Cone 31:16
Oh, created in the 70s. It’s the real thing. They should have kept that. Yeah. Use all these other lines, since no one understands or cares about them. Back in the 20s, they created a great one, a pause that refreshes. And they would have radio disc jockeys open a coke next to the microphone as part of their strategy. And you know, then we got Pepsi, you’re in the Pepsi generation. Well, you’re always in the Pepsi generation. So why would you walk away from that? Federal Express should have a cap when it absolutely positively has to get there overnight. That’s the only reason they’re in business. Now. You can be successful without a tagline. And sometimes it’s better than having a crummy one that you’d spent a lot of money on. No one cares about it. I mean, Apple is a good example that they don’t have any taglines currently, but they still create product excitement. They always have new features on their latest rendition of their iPhone or their laptop. And they always try to have a compelling reason to respond. And the most valuable company in the world, right? Yeah. So the basic facts for marketing success, which I laid out in that book haven’t changed. And I don’t think they ever will.

Michael Hughes 32:46
Yeah, just to remind everyone books steal these ideas. What’s the second one called? See more to steal these ideas?

Steve Cone 32:53
Are there no excuses for the second second edition? Yeah, now it’s in its second edition

Michael Hughes 32:57
was still these ideas, power lines, power lines, words itself.

Steve Cone 33:04
I enjoyed writing power lines a lot. And there’s a whole section in there about the use and misuse of slogans in the political world, and how they affected presidential elections. And, you know, against in this case, it’s possible right always

Michael Hughes 33:22
wins. Right? Is that is that like, is that like to believe always observed within political campaigns, the simplest line wins, actually,

Steve Cone 33:29
What wins is that the slogan only works for two reasons. One of two reasons. Either, it focuses on a singular issue that millions of Americans say Darn It That’s right. And there’s a lot of slogans over time that I’ve had that went one way back, and when Polk was running for president 54, or 40, or a fight, which we may have, you may remember from high school was about a dispute we had with Canada. Yeah, Canada.

Michael Hughes 34:01
Canadian school, we know 5440 or fight. Yeah,

Steve Cone 34:03
yeah. Yeah. You were on the other side of that, when you were a citizen, but we almost went to war with England a third time in the 1840s because of that issue. And the other way slogans work, which are more popular, are to reinforce the positive personality of the candidate. And a lot of examples of that I like. I like FDR kind of using a combination of both. singular issue and his personality, which was very optimistic. Happy days are here again. And Reagan used both and the first time he ran, had a long line, but people remembered it. Are you better off than you were four years ago? Everyone said? Absolutely not. When you wanted to buy a house that day, the interest rates were 20% 18%. And they were gasoline. Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter suffered all the all those afflictions and loss to Reagan when he ran an ad and then in 84, he changed his he had a genius ad guy who was a guy, not a gal in this case, how Riney who created both those lines and in the second time around running against Mondale, it was it’s morning again, in America. Everything’s better, everything is better. The economy was getting much better. Our status in the world has improved a lot. People were respecting us. And that was the biggest electoral landslide in history. When he ran against Mondale, Mondale only won his home state by only 3000 votes, which was Minnesota. And so that kind of shows the power of slogans, slogans are just a name for a political brand promise as opposed to taglines and the commercial world. And the slogan comes from the world. The word slow, glum, slow gum, which is an old Scottish word, which means war cry. So there’s a reason why slogans became slogans. Their modern day war cries, that’s and the other point, which is really true on both sides, commercial and political, is don’t ever discount the power of sound oversight. Sound is 100 times more powerful insight in terms of mine retention. And whether you love Trump or hate Trump, when he first ran against Hillary, no one remembers what the heck her slogan was, because she never talked about it never spoken. Trump would say, Make America Great Again. Let’s make America great again, over and over and over and over and over every chance he gets every interview. Every debate will make America great again, make America great again. He would say it all the time. And that’s how it snuck into people’s minds without showing a bunch of banners. So there’s I talk in the book about how sound is the major sense that allowed our ancestors to survive? Yes. Not sight, they couldn’t rely upon sight, but they could rely upon is this a good sound or a bad sound? And should I be happy or should I be fearful and that’s still how our minds work and how we retain sound, essentially forever. And even dementia patients, so it was a rock and roll play, it’s from the 60s. For dementia patients, they may very often recognize it and be able to sing along, even if they don’t know anyone else in a row. So that’s pretty interesting. So the power of sound is amazing. And that’s part of what I talk about in that book.

Michael Hughes 38:20
Terrific, Steve, this is a great way to book a conversation. Thank you so so much for being such a great podcast guest. We do like to put people through the wringer a little bit. NASA three questions about their own experience on that day, and just to just ask the same questions to all gaskets. Can I do this with you? Yeah. Okay. So question number one that we always like to ask is 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?

Steve Cone 38:49
Well, I like to have this personal philosophy, which I’ve had for a long time. So as I age, I haven’t changed. Every day is a gift and every life’s a miracle, even those people that you don’t particularly like and so I’m happy every day I wake up, because it’s better than the alternative as far as I know. And well, it may not be better than heaven or hell, I would be much better. You know, we worry about that. That is at a later date, hopefully. But I think not taking life for granted and trying to I also consider myself an existentialist, which is a highfalutin term, which means to look whether you believe in a Divine Being or not, your role on Earth is to make the place better and leave it better than you found it. And so that’s part of my daily philosophy.

Michael Hughes 39:50
It’s terrific. Okay, thank you for that. Question number two, what has surprised you? The most about you, as you Ah,

Steve Cone 40:03
I think this is true of a lot of people, I don’t feel older. Although my body sometimes lets me down. But I don’t really feel like I’m an old person. And I hate it when people say, Oh, I’m so old and it’s terrible and isn’t aging doesn’t aging suck? And, you know, I suppose there’s a lot of truth to that. But so what I mean, that’s not the way you should think about, you know, going through every day. It’s much more fun to be optimistic, and, you know, take care of yourself mentally and physically as best you can. And yes, aging, I can’t run marathons anymore. I can’t run anymore. I was an avid runner. I ran 12 marathons in my 30s. But I power walk, I do other forms of exercise. And it doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily live longer, but I’ll feel better while I’m alive. That’s terrific.

Michael Hughes 41:05
Thank you. And thank you for sharing that. Okay, last question for you. Is there someone that you’ve met or been in your life that has set a good example for you in aging, someone that inspires us would like to say here to age with abundance?

Steve Cone 41:19
Yeah, my dad’s mom, my grandmother, who was well into her 80s was still playing tennis. My grandfather had told me years before that she was terrible at tennis at any age, so it didn’t matter. And she also played bridge well into her 90s The game of bridge. In fact, when I was a little kid, I used to ask her not so little, but why would I visit her in her apartment in New York City. And she had the times delivered every day with her breakfast, she had a maid, you know, so that she was fairly well off and had servants running around. One of them would bring her breakfast and bed every day. And I would pop into the bedroom. I would notice she would look at the obituary page first in the New York Times, and I would say Granny, why do you why are you looking at the Ovid obituaries? And her answer, which was truthful, Stevie, I want to make sure I have a bridge game later this afternoon. And she wasn’t kidding. So Right. And so she was a great role model. Family was important. She would have family parties. She died at the age of 95. Walking into it she walked across the street and wasn’t looking and got run over. Oh, it wasn’t.

Michael Hughes 42:50
She laughed as if she would have kept going.

Steve Cone 42:53
Yeah, probably. But a great role model, don’t let age get in the way of doing what you want to do. Enjoying life and keeping your brain active.

Michael Hughes 43:03
And what I love about that story, Steve, is that you know, so often and you know, you’re a marketer, I’m a marketer. We see these images of people aging. And they’re either you know, they’re they’re not very complimentary, or they may be fantastical, you know, people like looking at VR headsets or people skydiving or things like that. But the truth of the matter is, there’s far more people out there than you’d expect just doing playing tennis, playing golf, playing bridge, going on and doing these active things well into their 90s and hundreds, right? Yeah, there’s

Steve Cone 43:33
There are marathon runners, God loved ones who are in their 90s. Right. I started pulling too many muscles and that is why I also stopped playing tennis. I haven’t tried pickleball.

Michael Hughes 43:55
Pickleball Pickleball is for an entirely different podcast. If we do this again, Steve, you know, want to get your word on that. But Steve, I just want to again, thank you for being such a terrific guest on the podcast. And just to remind folks where to find Steve, you know, capital Especially when you’re looking at companion pets and pets for vets programs. That’s Capitol for vets. Gov companion pets, your two books steal these ideas now. It’s a new version of powerlines words that sell brands. Good fancied sometimes change history, both your books even by leading anything else that went to pitch at this point?

Steve Cone 44:37
I don’t think so, Mike, I’ve really enjoyed chatting over this hour. And I have a great respect for United Church homes and what you’re doing out there, all over the country. And so, thanks for having me on your podcast today.

Michael Hughes 44:53
Thanks to you, and thanks to you. And thanks, most of all to our listeners for listening to this episode of The Art of the age. The Art of I can’t speak and Mom, I’m trying to speak slower. Okay, I know you’re listening. Thank you, our listeners, for listening to this episode of The Art of aging, which is part of the abundant aging podcast series from United Church homes. We want to hear from you. How has hospice touched your life? Now what has been your experience being a dementia caregiver? Have you heard about robotic pets and what interests you have if you tried them out? And then share your marketing tips with us as well? Right You know, and hopefully picked up some great input from Steve here today on marketing best practices. Visit us at abundant aging to share your ideas, find other episodes at abundance aging and on YouTube under United Church homes, and you could also give us feedback and learn more about the terrific work of the Ruth frost Barker center with its mission to end ageism at United Church Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.